Thursday, December 29, 2011

Quotes from the Presidential Pro-Life Teletownhall

On December 27th, Personhood USA sponsored the Presidentual Pro-Life Teletownhall, moderated by radio show host Steve Deace. The participating GOP presidential candidates -- Texas Governor Rick Perry, Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich --signed Personhood USA's Presidential Pledge, thereby endorsing the belief that life begins at conception and vowing support for a human life amendment to the U.S. constitution. (See www[dot]personhoodusa[dot]com/blog/personhood-republican-presidential-candidate-pledge) Throughout the evening, candidates reiterated anti-abortion positions discussed during the December 14th Citizens United forum in Des Moines, with emphasis on the belief that personhood begins at conception.

Deace began the forum by alleging that President Obama has shown "absolutely no regard for the inalienable right to life," and that anti-abortion voters seek a champion for the abortion issue. The first candidate to speak was Gov. Rick Perry, who quoted Psalm 139:13 and attributed his anti-abortion stance to the Founders at the 4:35 mark.
"My commitment to the unborn, it's actually rooted in the Founding Fathers documents, and that came from the wisdom of the Old Testament and the natural law written on our hearts. The Declaration of Independence declared life liberty and pursuit of happiness are rights that are endowed by out creator, and that's not open to some arbitrary bureaucrat or a judge in a black robe -- legislator's robes as I refer to them -- or for that matter any human power. They declared it as a right. It comes from God."
Rep. Michele Bachmann stressed that the anti-abortion struggle was "what I would literally die for," outlining her abortion platform at the 21:40 mark.
"We know that President Obama has a war on the family, and just days after he took office, he advanced his cause by reversing Mexico City. Nothing has helped save more human life than the Hyde Amendment, but it doesn't go far enough. What we need to do to upend Roe v. Wade and end that horrible holocaust in the United States of life is to pass the personhood amendment. I am the first person to sign the Personhood USA pledge, and I'm proud to say that, to define life from the moment of conception. We don't have to wait just for the Supreme Court. We can be involved in this ourselves ... As president of the United States ... I will veto any congressional attempt to provide federal funding of abortion."
Moderators read a question submitted by Lou Engle of TheCall, who asked how candidates would combat "chemical abortions" in the wake of Secretary Sebelius' refusal to allow the over-the-counter sale of Plan B. Bachmann replied that repealing Obamacare was the best way to do so, expressing anger that President Obama supposedly has the authority to put "abortion pills" alongside bubblegum in stores. (Bachmann seemed to be conflating emergency contraception with "abortion pills" as she did at the December 14th Des Moines forum.)

Finally, long-time abortion opponent Rick Santorum argued that the life-at-conception position is not a belief, but rather at fact at the 30:28 mark.
"When politicians say 'I believe life begins at conception,' that is conceding ground, and the ground that we concede is by using the term 'believe.' Life beginning at conception is not a belief, it's not an article of faith, it's an article of fact, the biological fact that life in fact begins at conception, and we need to begin to understand that we have to use language that is consistent with what the truth is."
On a final note, although Texas Rep. Ron Paul signed Personhood's USA presidential pledge, he did not speak at the December 27th forum. Indeed, Personhood USA requested clarification from Paul on his anti-abortion stance, according to a December 26th press release at www[dot]personhoodusa[dot]com/press-release/ron-paul-signs-personhood-pledge-personhood-usa-questions-commitment

The fact that several prominent GOP presidential candidates signed Personhood USA's pledge and spoke at a forum it sponsored should give us pause. The anti-abortion stance of several candidates is absolute, condemning the procedure under any circumstances. As the far right becomes more prominent in politics, its beliefs manifests through even more stridently anti-abortion candidates.

To listen to the forum, visit stevedeace[dot]com/news/national-politics/deace-show-podcast-12-27-11/. To read additional commentary, visit the following links.

Des Moines Register: Some GOP presidential candidates sign anti-abortion pledge, but Paul’s stance is questioned

Huffington Post: GOP Candidates Reveal How They Would Enact Pro-Life "Personhood" Laws

Right Wing Watch: Bachmann to Personhood USA: Ending Abortion 'Is What I Would Literally Die For'


  1. Ahab, if Rickie Santorum wants to play biologist and insist it is a scientific fact life begins at conception, he needs to get his scientific facts straight: Both the sperm and the egg are alive. If either were dead, conception could not take place. Life started hundreds of millions of years ago -- not with conception. Far from being a biologist, Santorum is not even an informed layperson.

    Glenn Greenwald, writing in the Guardian, pointed out recently that the Republican candidates are being forced to the extreme Right because Obama has seized the position -- not of a Democrat -- but of a moderate to conservative Republican. Yet, the further Right they go, the more ridiculous they become.

    This rush to endorse the ridiculous personhood amendment is in my opinion a prime example of what Greenwald is talking about. The amendment is monstrous! For instance: If personhood begins at conception, are we going to charge a woman who miscarries with a crime? What if she miscarries after walking up a flight of stairs against her doctor's advice? Or after going for a jog? Or in any other number of circumstances? And are we going to subject women who miscarry to intrusive medical exams in order to be certain they did nothing to artificially induce their miscarriages? The problems with that personhood amendment begin in hell and get hotter from there on!

  2. Of course. Those same folks who warn us about how intrusive government has become. This is just more disgusting vote pandering. They show their true lack of commitment to human life with their stances on the death penalty and the nation's social safety net.

  3. I really, really hate it when people use the word "holocaust" carelessly. Bachmann (and the rest!) is an idiot.

  4. Paul -- Good observations. Yes, Santorum is conflating life with personhood here, ignoring the debate about when an organism gains full human status. Also, a personhood amendment would indeed have devastating consequences for women's health and reproductive autonomy.

    Doug -- The irony is stunning. I would take their alleged commitment to life more seriously if they opposed war and poverty as loudly as the did abortion. Still, I wouldn't dismiss this as mere pandering -- I'm going to take them at their word and assume that they would take such extreme measures in the White House.

    Knatolee -- Ugh. The American anti-abortion movement throws around "holocaust" and Nazi references all the time. It's exceedingly disrespectful to the victims of the ACTUAL Holocaust.

  5. They're so adamant about protecting "life" from the moment of conception, yet they couldn't care less about it once it's born. Such is the hypocrisy of the "pro-life" faction.

  6. I will never understand why in the United States the Founding Fathers are so important. Who cares what they thought? They didn't have the problems of today and could never have foreseen the current issues. Politicians use them the way they use the Bible: to hide behind and to interpret at pleasure for self-service.

  7. Buffy -- Spot-on. I wish they understood that.

    Lorena -- The Founding Fathers really do have legendary status in American culture. It's one thing to admire their achievements and ideas, but quite another to make idols of them as some do.

  8. My disgust for their willful ignorance is a given. But it's really difficult for me to NOT hate these people.

  9. Cognitive Dissenter -- We need to turn that anger into resistance. The right-wing onslaught against reproductive rights is unrelenting.


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