Abortion

Trump's Politically Incorrect Abortion Comments Complicate Republican Narrative

The GOP frontrunner's off-the-cuff comments about abortion don't fit with the preferred pro-life spin.

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LaBellaVida/Flickr

"Everyone—even pro-lifers—hated Donald Trump's comments about abortion," reports Vox. In a televised interview with Chris Matthews Wednesday, the Republican presidential frontrunner suggested that if abortion were banned, then "there has to be some form of punishment" for women who terminate their pregnancies illegally. 

People on all sides of the abortion debate promptly freaked out, with women's groups and pro-lifers alike condemning Trump's statements. And Trump quickly shifted his position, saying in a statement later that day that if abortion were illegal, "the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb."

Trump's initial, off-the-cuff statements were in response to Matthews pressing him: "If you say abortion is a crime or abortion is murder, you have to deal with it under the law. … Do you believe in punishment for abortion—yes or no—as a principle?" 

Trump: The answer is there has to be some form of punishment.
Matthews: For the woman?
Trump: Yeah, there has to be some form.
Matthews: Ten cents, 10 years, what?
Trump: That I don't know. 

These comments run counter to the mainstream pro-life spin on criminalizing abortion, which is that women would never be punished, just those wily abortionists who prey on them. "We know how much women suffer from abortion, and how they are lied to by the abortion industry," said Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, in a typical pro-life response to Trump's comments. "Any penalty for illegal abortion should fall on abortion providers, not the women who turn to them in desperation."

Mollie Hemingway, writing at The Federalist, called Trump's position "a betrayal of pro-lifers," who "understand that abortion is a violent act against women and children." As a new convert to the anti-abortion side, Trump shows "no understanding of the debates about how to protect vulnerable women and their children from the evil pressure to abort," writes Hemingway. She also heralds a piece by Charles Camosy, in which he argues that "legal abortion is the product of privileged men" and that "our abortion laws end up serving the interests of men and coercing the so-called 'choice' of women." 

But here's what neither Camosy, Hemingway, Scheidler, or any of the major pro-life voices have addressed: What happens when there is no abortion doctor? No sketchy clinic. No nagging or coercive partner. What happens when a woman decides to terminate her pregnancy and takes matters into her own hands?

Women have been self-inducing abortions for time immemorial. Herbs. Coat hangers. Mifepristone. It's that last one, used in conjunction with another drug (misoprostol), that's likely to be most common for illegal 21st Century abortions. This two-pill regimen, referred to as "medical abortion" (as opposed to surgical abortion), is currently a common method for legal first-trimester abortions in America.

But that doesn't mean it's an easily accessible option for all women seeking abortions. Many states have set up a labyrinth of laws designed to make the process of prescribing or obtaining abortion drugs more difficult and time-consuming than necessary for women's health or safety. As a result, we already see American women illegally obtaining the drugs to self-induce abortion. And what happens now, when these cases are found out? The women are criminally prosecuted, under a range of state charges, such as fetal homicide or "unlawful abortion."

"Despite claims from antiabortion advocates and lawmakers that abortion restrictions are intended to only criminalize providers of abortion care, some prosecutors have exercised their discretion under current state laws to penalize women who end their pregnancies on their own," notes the Guttmacher Institute. If this is what happens when abortion is legal, why should we expect differently under an abortion ban?

What's more, prosecutors have not limited these charges to women who admit to self-induced abortion, or to cases where the evidence clearly suggests it, but in some instances gone after women who say they have suffered miscarriages. Whatever the truth in these individual cases, this points to another issue with criminalizing abortion: suddenly, many women who spontaneously miscarry will become suspect. 

It is theoretically possible that if abortion were illegal, pro-lifers would advocate new laws protecting pregnant women from punishment even in cases where they act 100 percent independently. Then again, that seems like a rather toothless and ineffectual sort of abortion ban. And also a strange compromise, from a moral standpoint: if abortion is murder—and punishable accordingly when someone is an accomplice to it—how can it be that the killer is subject to absolutely no consequences? These are questions prominent pro-lifers do not answer, or even bring up. 

If pressed, I'm sure some would suggest there is always someone to hold responsible (other than the woman): an overseas pharmacy that sold her the abortion drugs, a boyfriend who doesn't want kids, a friend who kept the woman company while taking the abortion pills. There are all sorts of creative avenues for criminalization, sure. In other areas where women are deemed incapable of moral reasoning or agency, such as prostitution, we already see this sort of work in action, with police going after anyone tangentially related to the commercial sexual activity.

It's understandable, from a political standpoint, that abortion opponents don't want to talk about these things—especially when they're running for office. But that doesn't mean we wouldn't have to reckon with them if abortion were once again illegal in this country.

Note that no one on the pro-life side has argued that Trump doesn't actually believe in punishing women if abortion were illegal. When people suggest that Trump just "doesn't get" the pro-life position, what they're really saying is that he doesn't get how pro-life Republicans are supposed to talk about their positions. That it's politically incorrect to talk about punishing women, regardless of what you actually believe. 

Yet, as The New Republic's Jeet Heer tweeted, Donald Trump "has a habit of turning sub-text into text. He doesn't know how to talk in dog whistle or code & spells out bluntly implications of policy. Bush talked about WMDs & spreading democracy. Trump says USA should kills enemies & 'take the oil.' Bush's subtext is Trump's text. … In the case of abortion, Trump isn't native to anti-abortion right & doesn't know lingo devised to hide horrifying implications of policy." 

Trump's original statements on abortion might not have been politically correct from a conventional conservative perspective, but they were the closest to honesty or authenticity we've gotten from a pro-life politician in a long time.

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  1. No matter what Trump says, it just helps to build his brand. It makes him totally bullet-proof in the political arena. So he occasionally blurts out the true consequences of conservative philosophy.

    We need a democratic Trump that says exactly what happens if Bernie or Hillary enacts their party line.

    1. We’re gonna have bread lines, reeducation camps for you stinking bigots, yuge giant walls with machine guns, oh so many machine guns, and they are gonna be pointing right down your stinking white cisgendered male shitlord throats, and we’re gonna make you think right!

      1. “Eewww, is that self-determination and personal responsibility? Yuck!”

    2. What true consequences of conservative philosophy?

      1. Pretty much what you see currently going on continues to go on I’d guess. Or perhaps change slower than some others would like it to change.

    3. kinnath,

      Abortion is a Republican dog whistle. Trump just destroyed it. Clever boy.

      http://classicalvalues.com/201…..ypocrites/

  2. Did someone have too many cocktails last night at those DC cocktail parties?

    1. Way to correct that after I made my snarky post.

  3. Hey, take it to the A.M. links, that’s where the really cool Trump/abortion debates were held.

  4. “Everyone?even pro-lifers?hated Donald Trump’s comments about abortion,” reports Vox.

    Vox? Seriously?

    Trump just smuggled in one of the pro-choicers’ better objections to anti-abortion laws: why are they aimed only at the doctor, who is only the patient’s agent, and not at the principal herself? Its odd that pro-lifers are mad at him for proposing stronger pro-life laws, and that pro-choicers are mad at him for bringing up a poison pill for stronger pro-life laws.

    1. Its odd that pro-lifers are mad at him for proposing stronger pro-life laws, and that pro-choicers are mad at him for bringing up a poison pill for stronger pro-life laws.

      The pro-lifer’s are pissed because he let slip an inconvenient fact about an abortion ban that they’d rather not deal with. Instead they’d rather pretend that a woman seeking an abortion is a helpless, naive, easily coerced victim of EVUL abortionists instead of a thinking individual capable of make decisions her own decisions*. The pro-choicers should be kissing feet as you point out, but he has the wrong letter after his name.

      *Just like progtards want to pretend that college chicks are likewise easily coerced victims of RAPE KULTURE and frat boys when it comes to sex, hence the defining down of rape to include any regretted sexual encounter.

    2. Pro-choicers aren’t actually mad about this. What could be better from a pro-choice perspective than the R frontrunner saying he wants to punish the woman? If he’s the nominee, you will see this TV ad over and over again.

      1. Pro-choicers aren’t actually mad about this.

        Well, if not, they are doing an excellent of job of lying about it.

        1. They are outraged by what he said, but overjoyed that he said it. It’s not a tough distinction to grasp.

          1. “Pander to my internal narrative! Ooooh, yes, who’s a bad boy?”

            *fapfapfap*

          2. Fair enough, I suppose.

            But why are they outraged that he said the same thing that they do?

            1. Pro-choicers say women should be punished for having abortions if they’re illegal?

              1. Isn’t having an abortion kind of unpleasant like a punishment?

              2. No, pro-lifers make the point that, if abortion is murder, it makes no sense not to charge the women as well.

                Because they know its a poison pill.

                Try to keep up, Nikki. 😉

                1. Actually, pro choicers do that. They’re the ones who want the poison pill that aborts anti abortion laws.

    3. Because it’s a chick topic and chicks get mad no matter what you do. Then you have to buy them dinner even though they are the ones who started the fight.

  5. No mention of protecting the victims of sex trafficking by arresting them for prostitution? Seems like that might fit in here somewhere.

  6. The logic of the rhetoric pro-lifers routinely use is pretty clear, a woman that conspires with another individual to terminate a pregnancy should be charged with first degree murder.

  7. Great point about the sub-text. Not a Trump fan, but is hugely entertaining to watch him crash through the china-shop that is established political language.

  8. It is just me or did the entire audience of that interview look like they were court-ordered to attend on pain of imprisonment?

    1. You didn’t see the machine gun nests with Browning 50 cal’s pointed at the audience positioned just out of frame.

  9. In other areas where women are deemed incapable of moral reasoning or agency…

    Are you given any sort of anesthetic during the procedure? Like the alcohol you drink at a frat party frees you of agency, as a woman in the stirrups you can’t be held responsible even if the president prescribes you punishment. So I guess in conclusion I would suggest you should always have a male abortionist because a lady doctor would make the situation paternalistically sticky.

  10. “We know how much women suffer from abortion, and how they are lied to by the abortion industry,” said Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League, in a typical pro-life response to Trump’s comments. “Any penalty for illegal abortion should fall on abortion providers, not the women who turn to them in desperation.”

    Utterly mendacious. I don’t fall for the “war on women” crap, but methinks the liar doth protest too much. Whatever his concerns for women seeking abortions, this position is wholly inconsistent and unserious. Abortion is murder: you made that bed, lie in it. If it’s murder, the perpetrator and her conspirators are murderers. Same goes for rape babies. Either it’s a life deserving protection, or it’s left to the discretion of its host.

    1. “We know how much women street-level dealers suffer from abortion the drug trade, and how they are lied to by the abortion industry cartels. Any penalty for illegal abortion dealing drugs should fall on abortion providers cartels, not the women dealers who turn to them in desperation.”

      1. Well done sir. Well done.

    2. Eric Scheidler ? That’s got to be Joe Scheidler’s son. (googles) Yup.
      I remember Joe being a real asshole, famous for using his signature bullhorn to “reason with” women going into abortion clinics.

  11. I almost got dragged into an abortion debate on Facebook because of his comments. It was horrifying and I hate Trump all the more because of it.

  12. “the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb.”

    Are they doing it to her in her sleep? It seems like if it was illegal they should both be held responsible.

  13. While we’re at it, remember the inconsistency of the British Parliament and the U.S. Congress circa 1808, when they banned the African slave trade, making it a crime to bring slaves from Africa to the Western hemisphere, while leaving slavery itself legal.

    And William Lowndes Yancey made that point in the 1850s – why was it illegal in the U.S. to transport slaves from Africa and sell them, while it was perfectly legal to sell and keep the descendants of Africans in slavery? Wasn’t that inconsistent?

    And of course Yancey was right, it *was* inconsistent.

    The problem was, Yancey’s concen-trolling was not for the purpose of attacking slavery, but for the purpose of trying to revive the African slave trade.

    It is true that a PERFECTLY CONSISTENT system of proslavery laws would have included legalizing the African slave trade. So it was a good thing that, defying consistency, the African slave trade was illegal.

    1. What the fuck are you talking about

      1. ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

      2. He brings up chattel slavery as a smokescreen to avoid talking about his advocacy for forcing a person to perform unremunerated labor under duress for another person .

        1. Don’t get your tentacles in a twist, I was suggesting that a fully-consistent system of laws is generally consistent because it’s consistently evil, like Yancey’s system of African slavery.

    2. And many years later, with the benefit of hindsight, we universally condemn slavery. If there’s ever a similar totality of support for the pro-life position, I’m certain the country will look back on contemporary arguments critiquing contemporary pro-life positions and take a similarly nuanced view. But that doesn’t mean that, at a point in time when sentiments are legitimately debated, it’s wrong to point out inconsistent standards. Comparing pro-choice with pro-slavery aside, your point bolsters the pro-choice position: if we can expect a total prohibition stemming from selective and inconsistent incremental steps, why should they want to give any ground at all?

      1. They shouldn’t – *if* their position is correct that the unborn child has no rights anyone is bound to respect, and that killing that child is a standard medical procedure. Why *would* they compromise?

        1. Which rhetorically if not philosophically torpedoes your argument, so why bother bringing it up? Unless you’re doing it as a neutral spectator, because it is an interesting analogue, but I’ve always gotten the impression that you’re trying to persuade people.

          1. In this instance, I was offended by the insult against large numbers of prolifers – even ones I philosophically disagreed with – that I got kind of heated.

            So I think I’ll cool off for a bit.

  14. It doesn’t matter what Trump says. His supporters don’t care and won’t change their minds, and will come up with any excuse, no matter how absurd, why this is ok. His detractors don’t care and won’t change their minds, and will come up with any excuse, no matter how absurd, why this is horrible. All this does is keep him in the news and keep his profile sky-high. Which is exactly what he wants. And everyone is happily dancing to his tune.

    1. Could his abortion soundbites drum up more voters to support Hillary in the general though? I don’t really think so, people who abortion is a major issue are already lined up for her.

      1. Yes, they can, because many pro-lifers and moderates aren’t comfortable with punishing the woman. I expect to see this ad many times if he’s the nominee.

        1. I can only see pro-lifers staying home. And you’re right, Mathews did an excellent job getting this soundbite.

          1. dave matthews?

    2. Enough with you and the dirty Hitler Swiss tiger men who bleed glitter gold!

    3. You’re right in the sense that it does not lose him any of his current supporters. But it matters in the general, where those supporters are not nearly enough. Trump’s negatives among women are extraordinarily high. His national poll numbers have been trending down, way down. I’d lay odds that, at this point, he has basically no chance of winning the general and the rest of the GOP are concerned he will drag down the whole ticket. He’s not getting those women back. He’s already lost Hispanics. Pro-lifers who would never support Hill-Dog will just stay home.

      We can debate the nuance of this statement all day long, but the optics are very, very bad. And in national politics, optics are pretty much all that matters.

      ***Caveat: I do not care. The GOP deserves what’s coming to them. I can only hope the D’s eventually get what’s coming to them, too (though they already shit the bed in 2014).

      1. The resultant vector of all the forces impinging on the convention could be the nomination of Rush Limbaugh–if Trump told his delegates to vote for him. Too bad there’s no US-legal betting market wherein to take a flyer on that longshot.

  15. The best thing I’ve read on the anti-abortion crowd’s appalling hypocrisy and Donald Trump’s appalling Donald Trumpness.

  16. It’s that last one, used in conjunction with another drug (misoprostol), that’s likely to be most common for illegal 21st Century abortions

    I wonder, considering the super short time period in which this method works.

    1. There will be underground clinics in most major cities, and the whisper line for women doing it out of their homes. More women will die, but, of course, they deserve to be punished.

    2. That’s it, I’m opening up Dr. Episiarch’s Get Drunk and I’ll Push You Down the Stairs Clinic. It doesn’t have a great success rate, but I’m cheap! After all, I did go to Hollywood Upstairs Medical College.

      1. I thought you said you had a degree from Columbia…

        1. And now I have to get one from America. And it can’t be an e-mail attachment.

      2. It worked for Ray Pruitt.

  17. What a lot of journalists, pundits, and interest groups fail to understand is that Trump isn’t seeking the approval of journalists, pundits, and foundation experts. He’s seeking the approval of primary voters.

    Where’s Gillespie and Welch to tell us all about the collapse of gate keeping in everyday life? I don’t think some of their colleagues have gotten the memo. Trump isn’t just doing well despite the condemnation of the self-appointed gatekeepers of public opinion; Trump is doing well because of the condemnation of those gatekeepers.

    People have come to believe that PC conventions are set in stone. We had a black President. The Republican establishment has been overthrown by the Tea Party, and even their new order is being disrupted by an upstart. The current batch of self-appointed public opinion gatekeepers had their turn as king of the hill for years, but if they haven’t been knocked off the hill already, they soon will be.

    I remember when it seemed like there would be no end to the neocons. I’m sure plenty of people think there will be no end to the social justice warriors. But gatekeepers can’t enforce the rules quite like they used to, and they’ve always eventually had to succumb to change anyway.

    So Trump isn’t playing by the gatekeepers’ rules? So what?

    1. Trump isn’t just doing well despite the condemnation of the self-appointed gatekeepers of public opinion; Trump is doing well because of the condemnation of those gatekeepers.

      That is the Trump judo that the establishment just can’t seem to grasp. He has positioned them in a no-win scenario.

      1. The madder they get, the more his anti-establishment street cred grows.

      2. They simply have no tools in their toolbox for dealing with him .

        Rig the convention? Yeah, that’ll work.

        Point out how he doesn’t fit in with them (“not a real conservative”)? That’s kinda the point.

        Highlight their policy differences? Rubio’s run was crushed because he took the establishment position on immigration.

        They are so screwed. And I am so happy about it.

        1. If they were smart, of course, they’d just ignore it. Americans are fickle with their entertainment. They’ll tire of this just like they tired of the Apprentice.

          1. They can’t give up their elitist perspective.

            They can’t criticize Trump from the perspective of the average, blue collar, middle class American because they can’t see from that perspective, but it’s also because they’ve come to imagine that the purpose of journalism is to indoctrinate the average American–and that’s on both sides of the ball.

            We’ve got some space since the Weigel situation now, so maybe we can talk about that intelligently. Most of us understood instinctively that Weigel thought he was indoctrinating people he detested in private. Then he’s hired by the WaPo to explain the Tea Party to their readers, and then it comes out that in real life, he thought the Tea Party were rat-fuckers who should have lighted themselves on fire.

            We’re basically seeing the same thing happen on a larger scale. Generally speaking, the Fourth Estate, on both sides of the aisle, holds the average American in contempt–and the American people know it. Certainly Trump supporters know it. The Fourth Estate cannot conceive of its own lack of importance in these people’s minds, so they keep heaping more and more contempt on Trump supporters, convincing more and more average people that the gatekeepers of public opinion detest them.

            1. It think that is a really good point, Ken, but I honestly do not understand why rejecting the contempt of the fourth estate would influence voting patterns. In other words, Trump supposedly hating the media or cultural gatekeepers or whatever seems like a pretty stupid reason to vote for him. As president, he couldn’t do anything about it, notwithstanding his odd “change the libel laws” pipe dream (NYT v. Sullivan is pretty entrenched).

              If anything, Trump is the embodiment of another, perhaps more destructive aspect of the fourth estate – their need for the non-stop controversy and division that gives their talking heads something to tsk at. Trump obviously drives ratings and clicks and, in turn, Trump gets free media to burnish his brand.

              The media may hate Trumpism from a personal, political perspective, but they know Trumpism, and their hate for it, drives ratings. It is symbiotic. And it helps Hillary by keeping her out of the news – the more people see her, the less they like her…the opposite of a normal campaign. National poll numbers are iffy at this stage of the game, but she has shot up as Trump has gone down, which, I think, is no accident.

              1. “In other words, Trump supposedly hating the media or cultural gatekeepers or whatever seems like a pretty stupid reason to vote for him.”

                Part of it is because the Democratic Party establishment (gay rights activists, social justice warriors, feminists, environmentalists, et. al.) have been raining contempt down on the white, blue collar, middle class for the last eight years for supposedly being racist, stupid, homophobic, misogynistic, etc.

                Maybe part of it is that these people have become immune, and maybe part of it is that they interpret Trump being denounced as racist, stupid, homophobic, misogynistic, etc.–by the same people who condemn them in the same terms–as an unmistakable sign that he’s one of them.

                Every time Trump is denounced in the same terms that they’re denounced in, it reinforces the association. And, yeah, the white, blue collar middle class has been denounced as racist for their white privilege, stupid for being blue collar and not embracing global warming solutions, selfish for being middle class, homophobic for being Catholic or generally religious, etc. Call Trump those things, and their reaction is, “Gabba Gabba, one of us!”

    2. But primary voters don’t want women punished for abortions.

      You are giving Trump too much credit. He’s probably never thought about this at all, got asked about it, gave an answer he thought pro-lifers wanted, only to discover that they don’t believe that at all, so he backtracked, sorta.

  18. To be honest, I had no idea the pro-life line was “no punishment for women, just for doctors” until now. Trump’s initial position seems totally, logically sound if you believe abortion is murder. If a parent takes a contract hit out on their kid, would we only punish the hitman?

    1. See, the hitman seduced her into wanting to murder her loved one. It’s his fault. She’s just a victim.

    2. Neither did a lot of other everyday people who frown on abortion.

      I’d bet the average person in America thinks elective abortion is shameful and immoral–and should be legal. They don’t put it in those seemingly conflicting terms however. It’s just like people think that cheating on your spouse is immoral–but you shouldn’t go to jail for it.

      For primary voters in the Republican Party, Trump has just upped the ante. Cruz probably can’t follow Trump there, but he might try. If Cruz doesn’t, then The Donald has just secured the anti-abortion vote.

      1. Are you literally insane? Pro-life activists are more upset about this than anyone else, and you think Trump just secured the anti-abortion vote?

        1. Did you not read any of my comments?

          Pro-life activists aren’t in charge of what primary voters think.

          Gatekeepers be gone!

          1. Pro-life activists are not “the establishment.”

            More importantly, Trump voters are irrelevant. There probably aren’t enough Trump voters to put him over the top in the primary, and even if there were, they sure aren’t winning him the general.

            You’re simply clueless if you think Trump’s statement wasn’t a mistake. That doesn’t mean I think it will hurt him with his supporters, but it was most definitely a mistake.

            1. If being pro-life and pro-Second Amendment aren’t Republican establishment positions, then I don’t know what you mean by the establishment. You haven’t been able to get serious consideration for the Republican nomination unless you were pro-life and anti-gun control since before the Reagan Administration.

              You’re being ridiculous.

              “You’re simply clueless if you think Trump’s statement wasn’t a mistake. That doesn’t mean I think it will hurt him with his supporters, but it was most definitely a mistake.”

              I’m not sure anything Trump does is planned, but if you think it was a “mistake” in that it will necessarily be bad for him in the Republican primaries, then you’re the one who’s clueless.

              P.S. If Trump had to walk his statements back half as often as you have to walk back the knee-jerk things you say about me, Trump would have been forced out of the race already.

        2. Especially after instantly back-peddling. Trump’s rabid supporters might tend toward anti-abortion, I have no idea, but anyone for whom a solid pro-life position is essential will have taken notice of his flip-flop.

          1. commodious,

            Yeah, he shouldn’t have flipped.

            Strategically, that is. He could have established himself as the choice for anti-abortion Republicans, and that would have helped him even more with Catholics and Latinos, who might go to Cruz otherwise.

            He might still have scored some points. It’s not like the press is going to let him walk that statement back. They’ll keep insisting that he said it, oblivious to the fact that they’re helping him in the primaries.

          2. commodious,

            Yeah, he shouldn’t have flipped.

            Strategically, that is. He could have established himself as the choice for anti-abortion Republicans, and that would have helped him even more with Catholics and Latinos, who might go to Cruz otherwise.

            He might still have scored some points. It’s not like the press is going to let him walk that statement back. They’ll keep insisting that he said it, oblivious to the fact that they’re helping him in the primaries.

        3. Maybe I’ll put it in terms that are more in harmony with your indoctrination.

          Anti-abortion activists are the Republican establishment.

          What evidence have you seen that the Republican establishment holds sway over Trump voters?

          1. “Anti-abortion activists are the Republican establishment.”

            Really?

            Anti-abortion activists sell *themselves* down the river?

            1. The observation that the Republican establishment is pro-life should be about as controversial as the observation that water is wet.

              Even Donald Trump felt like he had to cave to the establishment on that point (and gun rights). So did Rand Paul, Ron Paul, . . .

              You can’t be the Democratic nominee unless you’re sufficiently pro-choice, and you can’t be the Republican nominee unless you’re sufficiently pro-life.

              Donald Trump can be more radical than the activists on some aspect, but even he’s playing ball on those terms. Guns and abortion may not be the establishment issues forever, and you can argue about how effectively the Republicans have been at promoting either one of those issues. However, if the Republican establishment agrees on any issues at all, it’s those two.

            2. The observation that the Republican establishment is pro-life should be about as controversial as the observation that water is wet.

              Even Donald Trump felt like he had to cave to the establishment on that point (and gun rights). So did Rand Paul, Ron Paul, . . .

              You can’t be the Democratic nominee unless you’re sufficiently pro-choice, and you can’t be the Republican nominee unless you’re sufficiently pro-life.

              Donald Trump can be more radical than the activists on some aspect, but even he’s playing ball on those terms. Guns and abortion may not be the establishment issues forever, and you can argue about how effectively the Republicans have been at promoting either one of those issues. However, if the Republican establishment agrees on any issues at all, it’s those two.

              1. Right, Ron Paul spoke up for the right to life because he buckled under to the establishment, not because he’s an obstetrician who, long before running for President, published a prolife manifesto.

                And Rand Paul didn’t get his prolife views from his father, but straight from Karl Rove.

                And it’s not that Republican primary voters want candidates to take a prolife position, no, it’s that the establishment foists prolife fanatics like McCain and Romney on the voters.

                1. Also, the prolife establishment in the Republican party has caused the Republican Congress to defund Planned Parenthood.

                  It’s not that the establishment has to hold votes on prolife issues to placate the base, and then quietly sell out, no, they’re forced to sell out by evil Democrats.

                2. The observation that politicians rationalize their positions based on what they need to do to win shouldn’t be controversial either. When I see the Pauls take certain positions, and I attribute it to political expediency, I’m actually giving them the benefit of the doubt. Say what you have to say to get elected, Rand, I’ll still support you because I think I know what your real principles are. That isn’t a condemnation. It’s a vote of confidence.

                  1. I think we’re using different definitions of “Republican establishment” – I’m not thinking about the primary voters, but of the Roves, Boehners, etc., who have to pretend to care about “social issues” because otherwise they or their candidates would get primaried.

                    1. Yeah, I’m talking about the party faithful, who staff campaigns and volunteer to go door to door, too. It’s the people at the RNC. It’s the established party leadership. The establishment is also a large pool of wealthy donors. It’s also influential religious/anti-abortion groups. I’d say the NRA is part of it. There are military interests. And, yes, it’s also the primary voters.

                      If there are two things all of these people agree on, it’s abortion and gun rights. Expand it to three things, and you can probably throw in defense spending.

                      They used to talk about social security being the third rail of politics.

                      If you want to be an influential Republican, there are two third rails. I’m not sure those issues are being projected from the top down–they may be projected into the establishment from the grass roots up.

                      Regardless, nobody who’s anybody in the Republican Party wants to touch either of those two issues–not even the renegades from the Pauls to Trump. Those two issues are the thing they all have in common–or the establishment will never let you near a decoder ring. Even Donald Trump felt like he had to move to the establishment side of “assault weapons”.

        4. Of course the pro-lifers have gone wild with rage at Trump. The people who carry on about a fetus being a human from conception and thus terminating a pregnancy is murder are now in the position of arguing that the hit man should be punished but the person who hired him is innocent.

          Cognitive dissonance on such a fundamental matter makes for extreme discomfort, and leads to anger.

      2. And Cruz will absolutely not follow him here. For one thing, Trump has already walked this back. For another, Cruz knows he has electability problems in a general already.

    3. Roe v Wade wasn’t decided as a right to privacy on the part of the woman, it was decided as a right to practice medicine on the part of the doctor. It wasn’t until years later in the Casey decision that the woman’s right crept into the mix, so it really shouldn’t be that surprising that abortion is dealt with as a medical procedure being performed upon a woman rather than as a procedure the performance of which she is controlling.

      1. That’s an interesting point I haven’t heard before. Makes sense, from the “we are property of the State” perspective inherent in our medical mafia laws.

        Yes, we are tax cattle. The government enabled medical mafia controls the health care of the cattle. Therefore, it is the medical mafia’s responsibility to keep the female cattle from having abortions. You don’t blame the cow if a rancher aborts its fetus.

    4. Because men?

      Hell if I know. I just learned that Trump is more coherent on abortion than any other politician.

  19. Mollie Hemingway, writing at The Federalist, called Trump’s position “a betrayal of pro-lifers,” who “understand that abortion is a violent act against women and children.” As a new convert to the anti-abortion side, Trump shows “no understanding of the debates about how to protect vulnerable women and their children from the evil pressure to abort,” writes Hemingway. She also heralds a piece by Charles Camosy, in which he argues that “legal abortion is the product of privileged men” and that “our abortion laws end up serving the interests of men and coercing the so-called ‘choice’ of women.”

    My favorite part of this pro-life position is that people like Hemingway apparently live in some kind of looking-glass world where society doesn’t glorify the hell out of maternity and child-rearing. If I went to the Daily Mail right now, how many stories would be about celebrities looking “radiant” with a “baby bump?” And that doesn’t even get into the fact that we subsidize the hell out of child-rearing, including charging agents of the state with helping parents keep their children in line.

    1. Shhh, Nicole, the breeders don’t like it when you point out that they steal from us non-breeders constantly. It doesn’t take a village, except when it comes to money. Then we can all help out.

      1. You make yourself look stupid when you use the word “breeders”

        1. If you say so, chief. If you say so.

        2. The term “baby bump” is stupid. Oh so cute and childishly precious

          1. Pretty much everything associated with pregnancy and pet ownership is annoying and stupid. (see “furbabies”)

        3. You make yourself look stupid fabulous when you use the word “breeders”

          NTTIAWWT

          1. It is the equivalent of “fag”, though, isn’t it?

            It’s basically a slur for heteros.

            1. Yeah, but heteros are bad. So its all good.

            2. Not all heteros have kids.
              Not all those who have kids are heteros.

            3. Not all heteros have kids.
              Not all those who have kids are heteros.

      2. How do we steal from non-breeders constantly? This should be interesting.

        1. They pay for our children’s public education for one thing.

          1. One and done, son.

          2. One and done, son.

          3. Isn’t that viewpoint basically looking at children as property? I mean, it’s children receiving the education, so it seems odd to classify the benefit as the parents’. The non-breeders probably got one themselves at one point.

            1. How do you feel about welfare queens who have more children while they’re on public assistance?

              40% of California’s budget has to be spent on K-12 education according to the California Constitution.

              How awesome is that if you’re gay as hell?

              1. Oh, I don’t really care either way, just seems hypocritical for the Axis of Worst.

          4. Given that it is our kids who will be paying for your retirement I am pretty damned sure it is at worse a wash

        2. Let’s start with the basics: property tax. Mostly used to fund…public school. Yet paid by anyone who owns property, whether they have children in the system or not. Is that interesting?

          1. I send my spawn to private school, so I am doubly fucked. Not cool to lump all “breeders” together.

            1. ***Not a reply to Episiarch…just a general reply. Fucking comment system.

          2. Versus single people subsidized by dual income married couples. Guess which one is bigger?

        3. I mean, there are always the refundable child tax credits and the government schools. But the panoply of laws and support from law enforcement so you can continue to wield control over your children seem to be the much bigger issue.

          1. But the panoply of laws and support from law enforcement so you can continue to wield control over your children seem to be the much bigger issue.

            For a non-breeder, you sure have a lot of emotion invested in how breeders treat their spawn.

            I can’t wait until you free all the 6 year olds from the oppressive grip of their SS guards parents… Nothing could go wrong there. /sarc

          2. Yep, libertarians suddenly support all those tax cut outs when they choose to propagate. Another round of Hypocritical Collectivizing today.

            1. Tell you what, take my recently acquired dependent tax deduction and give me a tax code that doesn’t subsidize the middle class, particularly single middle class. I’ll make that trade in a second, but you’re not gonna be happy come 4/15.

      3. Maybe in their 30’s and 40’s, but once non-breeders retire, they’re living off the productivity of other people’s children.

      4. Breeders are the basis of society.

        I cannot being to describe how much more solvent I was with respect to time and money prior to kids. Non breeders really should shut the fuck up and enjoy their tropical vacations.

  20. Reading journalists’ reactions to this is like seeing a naval gazers right as they start to realize their magic rings don’t work anymore. If the people aren’t impressed by the gate keeping condemnations of the press anymore, then journalists will just have to find something to do that does impress people.

    In the meantime, expect more stories about how Trump and his people are like a bunch of brownshirts–and more yawning from the public. They’re just like Nazis, I tell ya!

    1. Reading journalists’ reactions to this is like seeing a naval gazers right as they start to realize their magic rings don’t work anymore.

      Except this is a case where the magic rings appear to be working again. This kind of feels like it could be Trump’s high water mark, given that he punked out.

  21. Jokes about rape pregnancy can be funny. It’s all about delivery.

  22. The sadist in me is having a hearty chuckle watching the entire country run around like a troupe of shrieking baboons. =D

    1. Just think, only 7 more months of it – give or take 4 to 8 years.

      1. It’s time to stock up on Rum. =D

    2. * misuse of troupe for troop is done on purpose, because at this point the pundits are entertainers.

  23. RE: Trump’s Politically Incorrect Abortion Comments Complicate Republican Narrative

    We cannot have any comments that are politically incorrect.
    Otherwise free speech might break out in the People’s Republic of Amerika.

  24. Because it’s not infanticide when Mommy does it.

    Trump actually had another signature issue going.

    Anatomy of a Trump Victory
    1) Trump says the unsayable.
    2) Elite pants shitting hysteria.
    3) Overton window opens.
    3) “Well, he has a point.”
    4) Whaddya know, most people agree with him.

    Now I can believe that Female Privilege is so entrenched and universal that Mommy can’t be blamed for infanticide. Always someone else’s fault. Because Vagina. Maybe Trump made the right call in backing down.

    But then again, maybe not. It’s a shame that we probably won’t know now that Trump has punked out. One Overton Window that remains closed.

    Note that I am pro choice. But I’m also pro Rule of Law in my quaint, entirely irrelevant, old fashioned way. In a sane society (one peopled by Martians like me), of course women would be punished for choosing to have an illegal abortion/infanticide. That’s what illegal means – something that we punish people for doing. But here in America, Vagina means everyone is to blame but Mommy.

  25. What happens when a woman decides to terminate her pregnancy and takes matters into her own hands?

    Unpossible if abortions are illegal. Vaginas have no agency to do Bad Things – someone else did it.

  26. What happens when those angels dance on the head of a pin?

  27. This is an absurd article that presupposes what it purports to prove.

    Pro-lifers say they don’t want to punish women who self-abort for the good and sufficient reason that they don’t want to punish women who self-abort. Looking for complete moral consistency on this issue from either side is a fool’s errand. It’s disingenuous to pretend that “our side can be flexible and reasonable” while the other side is comprised of religious zealots who share a secret agenda to push until all of their superstitious taboos are enforced with full rigor and consistency at every level of government.

    Are the pro-choice folks just going to stop voting if Roe v. Wade is overturned? Are they going to be disenfranchised, or reeducated? Of course not. Democratic government existed prior to 1973, and it will continue to exist regardless of whether states are prohibited from restricting abortion or not. If you don’t want women investigated for miscarriages, then you need merely get out and vote in sufficient numbers that the tiny minority who disagrees with you cannot carry out their agenda.

    Trumpism exists because discussion on every issue of importance has been reduced to straw-man arguments like this.

  28. If abortion is murder, it is Murder One.

    1. UNPLANNED ABORTION

  29. Of course that absolves all the poor victims who contracted a hit for hire (or even to have someone roughed up), being they’re preyed on by those mean contract killers & enforcers.

  30. If abortion is merely a woman doing some cosmetic surgery on her own body, then banning abortion is just another malum prohibitum law of which we have too many. If abortion is the intentional killing (murder) of another human being, then both the woman who decides to have the abortion and the doctor who performs the abortion are guilty of violating the rights of another person .

  31. What Donald Trump really revealed is that we are almost all pro-choice for women.

    Almost everyone (under the common labels of both “pro-choice” and “pro-life”) is pro-choice for the right of a woman to terminate her pregnancy without punishment. This is what is really causing the surprised reaction to the situation that both sides are united in their disagreement with DT about punishing women. Everyone is pro-choice!!

    No matter the terms of the pregnancy–rape, incest, life of the mother, etc.–or pregnancy stage–trimester, fetal heart beat, viability, partial-birth, etc.–we are all pro-choice in that we want a woman to be able to choose for herself whether to terminate her pregnancy for any reason and at any time without the risk of punishment. A few hold a position outside the mainstream “pro-life” position and advocate the punishment of women but the vast majority is pro-choice.

    The major difference between these two pro-choice positions is that the traditional “pro-choice” group wants her provider to have no risk of punishment. On the other hand, the traditional “pro-life” group advocates for punishment for the provider the woman chooses.

    The case of self-abortion is murkier as the article details. But overall, the vast majority of us are in the “pro-choice” camp when it comes to whether a woman has the right to choose to terminate her pregnancy without punishment.

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