Shortly after Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) humiliated himself on national TV by attacking Savannah Guthrie on the Today show, Phillip Elliot at the Associated Press (AP) published an interview with the Senator and newly announced presidential hopeful in which he refused to say where a pregnant woman’s rights begin and those of the fetus end.
The Senator referred to such rights as “details”.
In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Paul would not say where, in his view, a pregnant woman’s rights begin and those of the fetus end.
“The thing is about abortion — and about a lot of things — is that I think people get tied up in all these details of, sort of, you’re this or this or that, or you’re hard and fast (on) one thing or the other,” Paul said.
In the past, Paul has supported legislation that would ban abortion except in cases of rape or incest or to save the mother’s life. At other times, he has backed bills seeking a broader abortion ban without those exceptions.
Campaigning in New Hampshire on Wednesday, Paul told the AP that people get too tied up in these details and it’s his conviction that “life is special and deserves protection.”
But whose life is special and deserves protection? Not women’s lives, given Paul’s history on the subject.
Senator Paul must not have thought he could get away with accusing Elliot of “editorializing” (aka, reading his past positions out loud), but he still managed to dodge any specifics on policy, yet again. He came off as “testy” to the reporter who pushed for a definitive answer. Paul kept nattering on about the “sanctity of life”, in which is it is presumed he is discussing the “sanctity” of a fetus, not the pregnant woman carrying the fetus. Again, answering nothing but paying homage to empty right wing talking points.
The Republican Senator also managed to frighten women, again.
Two years ago, Paul sponsored a bill called “The Life at Conception Act of 2013”, which declared that its purpose was “to implement equal protection under the 14th article of amendment to the Constitution for the right to life… to life of each born and preborn human person.” The problem with this position is that sadly, this is an imperfect and sometimes cruel world and there is sometimes a choice to be made between the pregnant woman and the fetus.
The other problem for Senator Paul is if life begins at conception (his bill is a variation of the Personhood Amendments Republicans have been trying to push), then how can exceptions be made for rape or incest or life of the mother? The Personhood Amendment could also render some birth control illegal.
If we went with Paul’s bill, then the fetus would have more rights than the pregnant woman. How is that Libertarian? This can’t be disguised as anything other than a theft of rights to life from women. This is part of the biological design. Women get pregnant and carry the babies. Thus, women should be trusted to make the tough decisions about their own bodies and families. If Republicans like Paul really want to support life, they should start supporting programs for single mothers and children in poverty instead of attacking food programs for poor children.
Some of us don’t see our right to live as a “detail”. We’d like a definite answer confirming that a presidential candidate believes that we have the right to live and to make our own medical choices.
If Rand Paul is really running for president and not just playing spit in the eye of the media to raise money à la Sarah Palin, it’s going to be hard to get votes from women who fear that if Senator Paul were to win, they might be killed off. That’s just not a great way to recruit support.
* Associated Press writers Thomas Beaumont in Des Moines, Iowa, and Bill Barrow in Atlanta contributed to the AP report.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.