As The New York Times recently reported, there are an awful lot of social issues in which Donald Trump doesn’t now or didn’t in the past line up with his new vice presidential running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. These range from abortion and gay rights to whether smoking kills people. Considering that Trump has flip-flopped on a number of issues in this election cycle alone, it may not seem particularly noteworthy that he has chosen a veep whose views are so out of whack with what he used to believe.
In a recent episode of The Daily Show, host Trevor Noah jokingly compared Republican politicians’ pro-life stance on abortion with their blasé attitude toward the increasing number of American deaths caused by gun violence: “They just need to have a superhero’s dedication to life. Because right now, they’re more like comic book collectors: Human life only matters until you take it out of the package, and then there’s nothing left.”
Published: mic (March 21, 2013)
I was reluctant to use the same Thomas Jefferson quote twice in less than two weeks, but because the governor of Mississippi missed his golden opportunity to mention it, I simply had to post it again:
“The error seems not sufficiently eradicated, that the operations of the mind, as well as the acts of the body, are subject to the coercion of the laws. But our rulers can have authority over such natural rights only as we have submitted to them. The rights of conscience we never submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God. The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others.”
Published: PolicyMic (August 24, 2012)
It is true that a nation which practices censorship cannot remain free. To this axiom, though, I would add that a society which doesn’t respond to inflammatory stupidity with universal contempt cannot remain safe for reasoned discussion, as recent political discussion clearly demonstrates.
Over the last week, the Republican Party has provided us with two test cases for that principle. First, there was Senate nominee Todd Akin of Missouri, who claimed that in instances of “legitimate rape” a woman’s body would not allow her to become pregnant. While common sense should be enough to undermine this assertion, those in doubt can always turn to the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which reports that a single act of rape has a 5% chance of resulting in pregnancy among victims aged 12 to 45 who aren’t on birth control. This number increases to 30% if the assault occurs one or two days prior to ovulation.
Published: PolicyMic (March 22, 2012)
Is it fair to claim that the Republican Party is waging a “war on women?”
Let’s look at the facts. Although the phrase in question only regained its political fashionability within the last few months, the sad truth is that the Republican Party’s hostility to women’s rights traces back much longer than that. The days when Senator Margaret Chase Smith electrified Congress with her eloquence and sharp logic subsided long ago; in their place is the party whose much-heralded “Reagan Revolution” was ushered in by a former California governor who proudly made good on his 1980 presidential campaign promise to quash the Equal Rights Amendment.
A new bill proposed by Pennsylvania Representative Kathy Rapp would require any woman seeking an abortion to first undergo an ultrasound. During this procedure, the doctor would be forced to put the view screen in her field of vision so she could see the fetus and observe its heartbeat. Although she’d have the right to close her eyes, there is no doubt that this ordeal would still put her through an exceptional amount of psychological and emotional stress.Then again, perhaps she should be grateful that the people trying to diminish her ability to make lucid choices about other parts of her body are at least leaving her with unquestioned sovereignty over her eyelids.All questions regarding the legality of abortion ultimately revolve around whether aborting a fetus is an act of murder; after all, abortion should obviously be prohibited if it constitutes an act of homicide, while it is entirely justifiable if it doesn’t constitute the taking of a human life. Unfortunately, the debate as to when life begins still rages on among scientists, with prominent figures in that community taking both sides of the question. Indeed, a 2009 Pew Poll found that 52% of scientists identified as liberal (who, according to another Pew Poll taken that year, support abortion rights 70% to 23%), 35% as moderate (pro-choice by 55% to 37%), and 9% as conservative (anti-abortion by 63% to 30%). For those who worked specifically in biology and medicine, 58% self-labeled as Democrats (pro-choice 60% to 31%), 31% as Independents (pro-choice 47% to 44%), and 6% as Republicans (anti-abortion by 63% to 32%).