As last night's Republican top card presidential candidate debate made clear, all of the men standing on that stage are ardently pro-life. One (non) answer stood out though. From the transcript:
KELLY: Governor Walker, you've consistently said that you want to make abortion illegal even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. You recently signed an abortion law in Wisconsin that does have an exception for the mother's life, but you're on the record as having objected to it. Would you really let a mother die rather than have an abortion, and with 83 percent of the American public in favor of a life exception, are you too out of the mainstream on this issue to win the general election?
WALKER: Well, I'm pro-life, I've always been pro-life, and I've got a position that I think is consistent with many Americans out there in that…
WALKER: …in that I believe that that is an unborn child that's in need of protection out there, and I've said many a time that that unborn child can be protected, and there are many other alternatives that can also protect the life of that mother. That's been consistently proven.
Unlike Hillary Clinton, who has a radical position in terms of support for Planned Parenthood, I defunded Planned Parenthood more than four years ago, long before any of these videos came out…
WALKER: …I've got a position that's in line with everyday America.
Actually, according to polling data, Walker does not have a position that is line with everday America, at least with regard to the idea that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances, including those cases where it can be used to save the life of a mother. For example, the most recent Gallup Poll reports that only 19 percent of Americans believe that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances.
The governor of Wisconsin's position apparently makes him stricter than the Pope. The Roman Catholic Church permits using abortion as a medical technique to save the life of a mother, e.g., cases of ectopic pregnancy. The New Zealand Catholic pro-life organization summarizes:
The Catholic Church along with most other religions, recognises the moral principal of what is called the "double effect."
In the case of abortion, this means that any treatment done to save the life of the mother that also results in the death of an unborn child is not truly an abortion, since the death of the child was not the primary intention.
In such a case, even if the death of the child is a foregone conclusion, the death was an indirect effect of the surgical procedure.
Actually, I suspect that Walker simply hasn't thought deeply about this issue and gave a knee-jerk response so as to not appear to be flip-flopping.
See Reason's debate over abortion below: