Why Romney's Afraid of Abortion Questions

And that would be Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, affirming a point I made yesterday -- specifically, this one:

[Trying to spin it] is stupid. Either the [RNC's strict anti-abortion] plank means what it says or it doesn’t. If an “unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed,” then what the hell do rape or incest have to do with anything? If a woman is impregnated through rape, how is that not an “unborn child?” If a young teen is molested and made pregnant by Uncle Perv, how is the fetus not a person to whom “Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply?”

How can they create exceptions and remain consistent in their reasoning? They can’t. They can’t possibly. And they never meant to.

And now here's Ryan, applying exactly that lunatic logic. "I'm very proud of my pro-life record," Ryan explained in an interview, "and I've always adopted the idea that, the position that the method of conception doesn't change the definition of life." That is, if abortion is "killing a baby," then it doesn't make any difference how the patient got pregnant. Like Todd Akin, Ryan sees abortion as evil -- regardless of how pregnancy occurred. No exceptions for rape or incest.

Then Rep. Ryan goes on to dig in deeper; Mitt Romney's position on the issue goes pretty far -- but not far enough for him. "And the president, in this case the future President Mitt Romney, has exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother," Ryan said, "which is a vast improvement of where we are right now." In an earlier interview, Ryan called Romney's position a "good step in the right direction."

Like Todd Akin and all the other anti-abortion nuts in the GOP, Paul Ryan is merely being consistent in his reasoning. Republicans can't make the arguments they make and have people come to any other conclusion. If abortion is murder, then it doesn't matter how the woman got pregnant -- i.e., "the method of conception doesn't change the definition of life." They dig themselves a logical hole which forces them to hold the most extreme and unpopular position on the issue.

Steve Benen makes a very good point here: "Why is Mitt Romney trying to shut down media discussion of this topic? Probably because of answers like these."

Mitt Romney won't allow questions about abortion or Todd Akin because someone (read "Paul Ryan") might slip up and say what they actually think. And, in doing so, they demonstrate that it's not possible to honestly believe that life begins at conception and that abortion should be allowed in cases of rape and incest. It's just not logically consistent and someone who says they hold both positions has to be -- absolutely has to be -- lying about at least one of them.

The problem with the right's anti-abortion arguments is that, if you spend too much time explaining them, it leads you into some very dark territory -- a place where women are forced to give birth to rapists' children against their will, because a clump of cells that doesn't even qualify as an organism is considered a "person" by people who confuse philosophy with fact and religious faith with medical science.

It's not a pretty or popular argument, so best to just ignore it and hope everyone gets tired of asking about it.


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