Now, Hillary’s ‘gaffe’ upsets both sides of abortion debate

The leading candidate in both parties don’t know how to talk about life.

Shouldn’t that disqualify them?

Alas, abortion and what’s referred to as ‘the question of when life begins’ (as if it’s uncertain and therefore debatable) has played into elections for decades now. It certainly will for the rest of this election year. How candidates respond to specific questions relating to abortion, rights, and human life reveal a lot about their ideology or lack of a well-formed belief system, their adherence to talking points or lack of a base of knowledge about the topic. Any version of those is revealing.

So when Hillary Clinton was asked by Chuck Todd on Meet the Press when and whether an unborn child gets constitutional rights, I recalled having heard that question put almost that same way to candidate Barack Obama in the Saddleback Civil Forum by Pastor Rick Warren.

When Warren asked when life and human rights begin, McCain’s succinct reply, “At conception,” and mention of his pro-life voting track record were greeted with some of the loudest applause of the evening.

Obama’s pro-choice stance and flippant language were not.

“Whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective,” Obama said, “answering that question with specificity is above my pay grade.”

…a former spokesman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops…called the comment a “dodge that wasn’t even intellectually respectable.”

Clinton’s response to Todd was very close to Obama’s back in 2008.

“Well, under our laws currently, that is not something that exists,” Clinton answered. “The unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights. Now, that doesn’t mean that we don’t do everything we possibly can in the vast majority of instances to, you know, help a mother who is carrying a child and wants to make sure that child will be healthy, to have appropriate medical support.”

(So, wait a minute…What’s the difference between an unborn person not having any constitutional rights, and doing everything possible in some instances to help a mother carrying a child to make sure the child will be health with appropriate medical support? The elasticity of the semantics of political ideology, and dishonesty of the culture of relativism.)

Following that appearance on Meet the Press, Clinton was asked for clarification on The View by Co-Host Paula Varis.

VIEW HOST: You said, ‘the unborn person doesn’t have constitutional rights.’ And my question is at what point does someone have constitutional rights? And are you saying that a child, on its due date, just hours before its delivery still has no constitutional rights?

HILLARY CLINTON: Under our law, that is the case. I support Roe v. Wade because I think is important statement about the importance of a woman making this most difficult decision with consultation by whom she chooses… and under the law, and certainly under that decision, that is the way we structure it.

That default “that is the way we structure it” talking point response is almost the same as Donald Trump responding to MSNBC’s Chris Matthew’s question about punishing women who get abortions if the law changes, by saying ‘yes, there should be some punishment.’ Both are responses made under the pressure of the moment to pry out the candidates’ most deeply held beliefs about human life. But one had talking points and an entire industry prepping and propping her, while the other hadn’t thought it through well or for long and had virtually no prep.

However, both responses tell us a lot. Human life is a relative idea, protection of the most vulnerable young human beings is strategically embedded in political ideology more than inherently so in a mother’s womb, and facts not only don’t determine a candidate’s well formed positions on first principles, they actually get in the way of those positions when candidates don’t seek to be well informed and grounded in science, maternal/fetal medicine and fundamental morality.

Both Clinton and Trump have been exposed and made more vulnerable by questions relating to abortion. No doubt Clinton will be drilled by her camp, and Trump will do whatever he does to prepare for facing challenges to his views and beliefs.

But this is an issue central to Election 2016, and it’s going to remain so through November, and beyond.

Dear MSNBC: Do a series on Human Life 101

I was consideirng making that a question as a header. But there’s no question.

Not when things like this still turn up in what some people still consider ‘mainstream media.’

During a recent MSNBC show on abortion, [host] Melissa Harris-Perry made a comment that will surely make people wonder whether she has any grasp on the science behind fetal development.

Harris-Perry talked about how much it costs “to have this thing turn into a human” when referring to an unborn baby.

During the rest of her talk she “accidentally” breaks a model of a fertilized egg, claims there is no science supporting the notion that unborn children are human beings, and dismissively refers to babies.

Okay, starting with basics, women have an abortion when they discover they’re pregnant and either don’t want the child or are pressured into ‘terminating it.’ And they are aborting or terminating is a fertilized egg, which makes a woman pregnant. Which means the doctor treating her has two patients. 

A charitable presumption would be that the MSNBC host is one of those people who believes that conception, making a woman pregnant with a fertilized egg, means a ‘blob of tissue’ is there, and that by removing it, you can prevent it from becoming a baby. But if that presumption is true, such archaic thinking should exclude any candidate from the position of a major television network host if that network is pursuing honorable journalism.

As the best informed consent law in the country – which stands after multiple court challenges by Planned Parenthood and its affiliates – states explicitly:

…abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” The law required doctors to disclose that abortion may cause women psychological harm, and that the mother’s relationship with the human being she carries is protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.

Human life is already present at conception of a fertilized egg. You can call that a person or not consider that a person. Your terminology doesn’t change the reality.  That human being either has rights or doesn’t have rights. But…isn’t that the same argument that raged over slavery?

Can we be honest about this?