Mike Huckabee remains horrifyingly consistent on abortion

On Sunday, Mike Huckabee doubled down on his opposition to abortion in practically all cases, including rape and incest, when he told CNN’s Dana Bash that he supported Paraguay’s laws that recently forced an eleven year old girl who was raped by her stepfather to carry the resulting pregnancy to term.

Said Huckabee:

I wouldn’t pretend it’s anything other than a terrible tragedy, But let’s not compound the tragedy by taking yet another life…If life matters, and if that’s a person, then every life matters.

Paraguay only allows abortion in cases where the mother’s life is at risk, a position that multiple Republican candidates have now signed on to. And as Paul Waldman argued in the Washington Post last week, if you oppose abortion on the grounds that it takes a human life, this position is in fact more consistent than allowing for exceptions in cases such as these:

Mike Huckabee, via Wikimedia Commons

Mike Huckabee, via Wikimedia Commons

If you think abortion is murder, then you should believe it’s murder no matter what led to a woman becoming pregnant. When you say we’ll make exceptions for rape and incest victims, what you’re saying is that whether a woman is able to get an abortion should be a function of someone else’s judgment of her virtue. If she got pregnant because she was the victim of a crime, then okay, she can have the abortion. But if she willingly had sex, then she should be punished by being forced to carry her pregnancy to term.

If you start with the assumption that a fetus is a human being with rights equal to (or perhaps exceeding) those of its mother, it becomes very difficult to defend any exceptions to laws prohibiting the termination of pregnancy. Huckabee can grant that it is a horrifying injustice for a ten year old girl to be raped by her stepfather and forced into a pregnancy that she could not have possibly consented to, while holding to his principle that it would be a far greater injustice to react by killing someone — that someone being the fetus in question. It’s an uncomfortable logical move, but the logic’s there once all of the assumptions are in place.

Of course, I don’t need to bother asserting that Huckabee’s assumption that a fertilized egg is alive is wrong. God does that for me. Not only does the Bible clearly condone and arguably mandate abortion in cases of adultery, in multiple passages it places the fetus in the ranks of the not-yet-alive.

But no matter. By insisting that a fetus is alive from the moment of conception, Huckabee turns a complex moral issue into a simple political one. To be clear, the public has made it clear that Huckabee has placed himself squarely on the wrong side of this political issue, as over 80 percent of Americans, including a plurality of Republicans, think that abortion should be legal in cases of rape or incest.

But that remaining ten-ish percent of the electorate that thinks abortion should be illegal in all cases is the slice of the electorate Huckabee’s trying to own. This is the same guy who wants to literally wage a war on women seeking abortions, calling on FBI troops to forcibly prevent the termination of unwanted pregnancies. If the person seeking that termination is a ten year old girl who was incest-raped by her stepfather, so be it.

Mike Huckabee isn’t going to be president. He’s going to spend the next few months derping around Iowa, openly calling for the establishment of a theocracy until he’s built a big enough email list to scam for another four years. But it is not only possible but likely that the eventual Republican nominee will be on record saying they believe life begins at conception.

And one need only look to Paraguay to see the implications of that belief in action.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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4 Responses to “Mike Huckabee remains horrifyingly consistent on abortion”

  1. 2karmanot says:

    It’s time to declare the Republican Party a clear and present danger to American Democracy, if not a terrorist threat to its citizens.

  2. BeccaM says:

    I’ll say it yet again: Does Mike Huckabee feel there is a fundamental human right to healthcare for a pregnant woman or her children? He does not.

    If a woman miscarries, is Mike Huckabee’s position that the woman should be considered a potential suspect in an act of murder, even though the majority of all pregnancies end in miscarriage? He does.

    This isn’t and never has been about ‘protecting life’, otherwise the health and continued life of the compelled gestational vessel (aka ‘the woman’) would matter to these misogynistic monsters, as would the health and well-being of the offspring. Time and time again, the only emphasis is on forcing women (who remain conveniently faceless or are declared to be ‘mothers’ even if they’re just 11 years old and haven’t even consented to it) to carry all pregnancies to term (and punishing them if they fail to do so) and furthermore declaring that any and all means of preventing pregnancies are somehow morally wrong. For a self-declared ‘pro-life’ guy, Huckabee is consistent in his opposition to the means necessary to protect it for real — as in, access to health care. (Then again, he’s also pro-capital punishment, which puts the lie to his claim to be “pro-life.”)

    And that’s how far they’re willing to go. To declare that a woman’s or even a girl’s rape should continue for the rest of her life, even if that rape will cut it short.

    Huckabee’s position really about the subjugation of women by way of forced pregnancy and the elimination of body autonomy for women. If there was anything ‘pro-life’ about his position, he’d care about the health and well-being of both women and their children — and he does not.

  3. Indigo says:

    He’s one of the demons lurking about, seeking whom he can destroy.

  4. Hue-Man says:

    Headline from January, 2015: No Pardon – Young Woman To Serve 30 Years For Miscarriage

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