You know, I have to agree with John Huntsman on this one:
A ballot initiative in Mississippi that would define a fertilized egg as a legal person has led to a rare divide among Republican presidential candidates on topics of abortion policy.
On Sunday, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, who has generally stuck to an anti-abortion platform during this campaign, became the first presidential candidate to publicly say that he opposed the so-called personhood amendment.
“I think it goes too far,” Huntsman said on NBC’s “Meet The Press.” “I mean, I’m pro-life and always have been. I have two little adopted girls to prove the point. But I think life begins at conception. And I, you know, have certain caveats or exclusions in the case of rape, incest, and life of the mother. But I’ve, I’ve always been–I’ve always been pro life and proud of my record.”
Huntsman is not not the only pro-lifer to come out against the amendment. A lot of pro-life groups are backing away from this proposal, which is so extreme, I have to think the courts will take it up.
Forget the abortion issue for the moment. If a fertilized egg is defined as a person, the legal implications are staggering. Morning after pills and IUDs would be illegal. IVF would be in questionable legal territory since most embryos fail to implant and leftover embryos are sometimes destroyed or used for research. Even ectopic pregnancies would come into question. Moreover, somewhere between 50 and 80% of fertilized eggs naturally fail to implant or survive more than a couple of weeks. Almost all women will have a miscarriage at some point in their lives, most without realizing it. What’s to be done about that?
What bothers me about this is not so much the ballot measure, which will either fail or be thrown out by the Courts, but what this says about the current mindset of many within the GOP. We have seen a series of these plans come out — on abortion, on taxation, on budgets — that have almost no connection with reality and are set upon an almost willful ignorance of details. The GOP has moved from a conservative party that was nervous of Big Grand Plans for Remaking the Universe to a party that is besotted with them and has little interest in the niggling details that often mean disaster. It’s as if they looked at Obamacare, with all its plunging forward regardless of fact, and decided that was a model. So we get a 9-9-9 tax plan that would massively shift the tax burden to the middle class. We get several candidates advocating 40% cuts in federal spending, ignoring that this would necessitate huge cuts in military or law enforcement spending. We get candidates opposing the withdrawal from Iraq with no clear idea of what they hope to accomplish. And now we get a personhood provision that no one has thought about in terms of basic human biology.
Our system of government is set up to temper these periodic outbursts of lunacy — from Right and Left. But these aren’t the sort of things we should be wasting our time and political capital on. It makes me wonder — are the GOP raising these garbage ideas and bullshit plans because they don’t want to make the tough choice that lie ahead?