On Monday night’s The Rachel Maddow Show, host Rachel Maddow accused Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney of supporting a law that would outlaw abortions, even in cases of rape and incest, while also tying freshly-crowned VP nominee Rep. Paul Ryan to extreme measures related to reproductive freedom. What’s curious is that Pulitzer Prize-winning Politifact just got done incinerating President Obama‘s trousers over the same claim. Who’s right?
The Obama campaign ran an ad last month which said that Mitt Romney of “supports overturning Roe vs. Wade. Romney backed a bill that outlaws all abortion, even in case of rape and incest,” based on a statement he made at a 2007 debate that he would sign a bill that banned all abortions, and on his repeatedly-expressed support for so-called “personhood amendments,” which Maddow has pointed out before would outlaw most forms of birth control, most IVF treatments, and all abortions.
Politifact rated the claim “Pants on Fire,” based on the “logic” that some personhood amendments contain exceptions for rape and incest, and the life of the mother, and since Romney didn’t mention such exceptions when he expressed support for personhood, that must mean he supports such exceptions. It’s an idiotic bit of logic, like concluding that if I say I like Pepsi, I must really be saying I like Diet Pepsi.
They also “reasoned” that while “some” personhood bills have no exceptions, “the most recent ones do”:
The National Committee for a Human Life Amendment, a Washington-based advocacy group, has compiled the congressional bills in favor of an amendment dating back to 1973. Some of those bills have no exceptions for rape and incest. However, the most recent versions do.
In 2003 Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Mo, introduced H.J. Res 9 which held that “no unborn person shall be deprived of life.” However, the bill adds “nothing in this article shall prohibit a law permitting only those medical procedures required to prevent the death of the mother of an unborn person: Provided further, that nothing in this article shall limit the liberty of a mother with respect to the unborn offspring of the mother conceived as a result of rape or incest.”
If you read that “exception” as if your life depended on it, there’s nothing there that says you’re free to kill the thing they just declared a person, but let’s set that aside for a moment. As Rachel Maddow pointed out on her show last night, there’s an even more recent version of this legislation than the 2003 example that Politifact cites. It’s HR 212, The Sanctity of Human Life Act, and it was co-sponsored by Rep. Paul Ryan. Given the wrecking ball it takes to 50 years of privacy law, the bill is rather short. See if you can locate the exception for rape and incest
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment