Caffeinated Thoughts has already reported the mixed signals that Dr. Ben Carson has sent on the topic of abortion during this presidential race.
A recap may be in order.
His campaign addressed his unexpected vocal support of RU-486 being given to female victims of rape and incest while speaking with Neil Cavuto. His campaign has said that he meant emergency contraception. Emergency contraception can still be in some cases an abortifacient. I’ve not seen an explanation of why he said life “surely begins” when the heart begins to beat during his interview with Cavuto all the while proclaiming he believes life begins at conception.
It has come to light that Carson said to the Baltimore Sun in 1992, “As a physician who does not believe in abortion, when faced with a patient who has severe medical problems, I would refer someone for an abortion. I believe that person needs to hear both sides. I would never advocate it’s illegal for a person to get an abortion. I think in the long run we do a lot of harm when we bludgeon people.”
His communications director, Doug Watts, defended his record with Katie Glueck of Politico using language that sounds more like it is coming from a pro-abortion advocate. “He believes in quality medical care, No. 1, and secondly, he believes in people making their own decisions based on facts and information.” Watts said. “He believes people ought to have all the facts available to them, but he is steadfastly opposed to abortion. Referring it on does not mean he is advocating it, he’s advocating they are getting qualified medical supervision. He has always believed that the battle over abortion had to be waged in the hearts and minds of Americans, that you cannot legislate morality. But he also believes we’re winning the debate.”
Carson has supported a 20-week abortion ban. “A touchstone throughout my life has been the value and sanctity of life. Over the course of my career as a father, husband, physician, author and now someone who is exploring the possibility of running for President, I have spent countless hours in efforts consistent with, and in support of, the pro-life movement and as such my perspective on this issue is unique. Extending, preserving and maintaining the quality of life of all individuals has never been more important than it is now,” Carson said on Facebook.
“Children are our most precious resource and our efforts to protect them should know no bounds. I urge our legislators in Congress to swiftly vote on the legislation known as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. It is legislation that values life which in the end is what we are here for,” Carson added.
However in his just released book, A More Perfect Union, that he believes abortion should be a state issue.
“There is hope that the Supreme Court may one day rule differently on abortion, but it would make more sense for the Court to allow states to decide the matter for themselves. One of the real beauties of having fifty different states governments is that almost everyone can find a place of happiness where the people believe as they do. Ultimately, it would make a great deal of sense to allow the people of each state to vote on the issue after they have been objectively educated,” Carson wrote.
What does this mean for a Carson presidency when dealing with abortion at the federal level?
Frank Cannon, President of American Principles in Action, points out the inconsistency at The Pulse 2016.
That statement is diametrically opposed to the passage of the federal bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks, which Carson has previously said he supported. Moreover, it is opposed to the current strategy of the pro-life movement, which is focused on electing a pro-life president in order to pass the 20 week bill and other federal pro-life legislation.
However, the issue with that particular statement runs deeper than political strategy. Abortion is a national civil rights issue. Reducing the issue to a decision for the states to independently determine is tantamount to saying that, while the fetus is a life, it is acceptable to kill it but only in certain states.
There is a fundamental disconnect between the stance in Carson’s book and the philosophy and strategy of the pro-life movement.
Carson’s continued doublespeak is concerning to those who are pro-life. With no voting record or history of governance we are left to what he says as a candidate and he has been all over the place in that regard.