Mitt Romney says that he would support passage of a constitutional amendment stating that life begins at the moment of conception, a step that would not only bar abortion nationwide but would call into question the constitutionality of several widely accepted forms of contraception, including the IUD.
However, in typical Romney fashion, he also says that he believes the abortion issue should be decided at the state rather than federal level, which a constitutional amendment would preclude. So go figure.
His remaining opponents, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich, take that a step further, having signed the so-called “personhood” pledge stating that “all human beings at every stage of development are persons with the unalienable right to life.” Gingrich has taken that a step further, proposing that Congress can, by a simple act of legislation, decree that life begins at conception and that no federal court can review or overturn that finding.
As previously noted, President Obama holds a 20-point margin among women over his Republican opponents, a gender gap of astounding proportions. The positions outlined above help explain why that gap is so large.
For those needing further justification, I’d like to enter two pieces of photographic evidence into the record:
The panel above was assembled last week by the Republican-run House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to discuss mandatory coverage of female contraception in insurance plans.
Now, what do these experts discussing female contraception have in common? If you answered that they all oppose the Obama administration’s policy, you’d be correct. But they have something else in common as well.
Any guesses? The five in question are, from left to right, the Most Reverend William Lori, a Catholic bishop; the Reverend Dr. Matthew Harrison, president of the Missouri synod of the Lutheran Church; C. Benn Mitchell, a professor of moral philosophy at Union University, a conservative Christian college in Tennessee; Rabbi Meir Soloveichik, a conservative Orthodox leader; and Craig Mitchell, an ethics professor at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Still no guesses? Look again. Do you notice, say, an absence of estrogen in the group?
In the committee’s defense, the next panel to testify did include two women: Dr. Allison Garrett of Oklahoma Christian University and Dr. Laura Champion of Calvin College, a conservative Christian school in Grand Rapids, Mich. But they too, like everyone else allowed to testify, opposed the Obama policy and discussed the issue not in terms of its impact on women, but in terms of its supposed impact on religious liberty. No supporters of the Obama policy were allowed to testify.
Here’s the second photograph:
In Virginia, the Republican-dominated state legislature is close to enacting a law that would require women seeking abortions to undergo ultrasounds to determine the gestational age of the fetus. However, in pregnancies of 10 weeks or less — when most abortions are sought — such tests can be conducted only through “transvaginal ultrasounds” performed with the instrument above.
Put candidly and clinically, the instrument must be inserted deep into a woman’s vagina and then manipulated until it produces a clear image.
Versions of the bill have passed both the House and Senate by overwhelming margins (63-36 in the House; 28-11 in the Senate). Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican often mentioned as a potential vice presidential nominee, has said he would sign the bill into law.
Think about that: As a condition of exercising her constitutional right to choose, a woman in Virginia must accept a government-mandated physical probe into her body, a probe that serves no medical function whatsoever. When Republicans argue that the Constitution offers no “right to privacy,” they clearly mean it, and this is where that line of thought inevitably leads them.
They give new meaning to the term “intrusive government,” and new inspiration for the growing gender gap.
– Jay Bookman