Did you watch the first GOP presidential debate last night?
We did, and we took special note about what the candidates said about abortion and Planned Parenthood. Personhood USA doesn't endorse presidential candidates, but we are willing to speak our minds about what the candidates got right or wrong when they talked about building a culture of life.
With that said, here was how we saw the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in last night's debate:
1. The BEST moment
Governor Mike Huckabee was asked whether his total opposition to abortion was "too extreme" for a Presidential nominee. His reply blew the moderators out of the water!
A lot of people are talking about defunding planned parenthood, as if that's a huge game changer. I think it's time to do something even more bold. I think the next president ought to invoke the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the constitution now that we clearly know that that baby inside the mother's womb is a person at the moment of conception.
The reason we know that it is is because of the DNA schedule that we now have clear scientific evidence on. And, this notion that we just continue to ignore the personhood of the individual is a violation of that unborn child's 5th and 14th Amendment rights for due process and equal protection under the law.
It's time that we recognize the Supreme Court is not the supreme being, and we change the policy to be pro-life and protect children instead of rip up their body parts and sell them like they're parts to a Buick.
There's a lot of awesome in this answer that we need to unpack:
1. Defunding Planned Parenthood isn't an end goal. We need to go much further by enforcing existing personhood protections in the Constitution to END abortion altogether!
2. The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments safeguard the God-given right to life for all persons, from conception, no matter what the Supreme Court says.
3. The Supreme Court is not the final word on issues like abortion. Just as President Lincoln did not recognize Dred Scott to be binding precedent, so too should our President ignore lawless rulings from the Supreme Court which ignore our fundamental and God-given rights, such as the right to life.
That was a great answer with real meat in it!
2. The WORST moment
Jeb Bush was asked why, as director of philanthropy for a Bloomberg charity, he approved tens of millions of dollars donated to Planned Parenthood. His response was unbelievable...
Bush: "We never had a debate about the budget. It was presented and we approved it. Not item by item..."
Kelly: "But did you know?"
Bush: "No. I didn’t know. But it doesn’t matter..."
He didn't know? How could he not know? He is admitting that he did not do due diligence on the organizations that he approved funding for?
And "it doesn't matter"? You've got to be kidding me!
It's incredibly far-fetched to suppose that Jeb Bush and his staff wouldn’t have known that the Bloomberg foundation pushes abortion and other population control efforts around the globe. It was so widely publicized that Planned Parenthood even wrote a press release, thanking the foundation for their gift!
Just this past March, Bloomberg received a prize from Planned Parenthood at their annual gala for his work in funding international abortion efforts.
3. Everything else
Several other candidates had good (and bad) responses to questions about abortion and Planned Parenthood. We'll do a quick run-through...
Scott Walker was asked about his opposition to abortion even for "life of the mother" cases. This was a great opportunity to educate the public that there's no medical circumstance in which abortion is necessary to save a mother's life. But Walker's answer left a bit to be desired:
I’ve said many a time that that unborn child can be protected, and there are many other alternatives that can also protect the life of that mother. That’s been consistently proven.
It's not a bad answer, it just doesn't explain why abortion is never necessary. Here are some things that might have been helpful to throw out there:
1. There is a fundamental difference between abortion and legitimate medical interventions that may risk the life of the child to save the mother. Interventions which risk the life of an unborn baby to save the life of a mother are entirely different from the intentional killing of an unborn child through abortion.
2. Over 200 OBGYNs have signed the Dublin Declaration, which was drafted by a commission of world-renowned experts in epidemiology, obstetrics, and maternal health in 2012. The Declaration states that direct abortion (the intentional killing of the baby) is never necessary to save the life of a pregnant mother.
Marco Rubio was asked about his previous support for rape and incest exceptions in bills to regulate abortion. He denied support for such "exceptions."
KELLY: You don’t favor a rape and incest exception?
RUBIO: I have never said that. And I have never advocated that. What I have advocated is that we pass law in this country that says all human life at every stage of its development is worthy of protection. In fact, I think that law already exists. It is called the Constitution of the United States.
That's a noble sentiment, and Rubio went on to lambast the brutal practice of abortion... But in 2013, Rubio sponsored a 20-week fetal pain bill that permitted late-term abortion for children conceived in rape and incest. Has he repented for supporting laws that would exempt children conceived in violence from their scope of protection? It's an unclear issue that Rubio will have to clarify.
Donald Trump was asked about his 1999 statement supporting partial-birth abortion and calling himself "very pro-choice." He replied:
I am pro-life. And if you look at the question, I was in business. They asked me a question as to pro-life or choice. And I said if you let it run, that I hate the concept of abortion. I hate the concept of abortion. And then since then, I’ve very much evolved.
Some politicians do change their minds, but it's very suspicious that someone who as recently as 2004 identified as a Democrat would suddenly "evolve" on abortion as they seek the nomination for Republican president. Similar to Mitt Romney, who supported abortion when he ran for office in blue states and opposed it when he ran in red states, it's hard to take The Donald at his word.
Ted Cruz is very strong on life and marriage issues, but he wasn't given much opportunity to shine as the moderators asked questions about abortion to other candidates. Nevertheless, he was able to say that on Day 1 of his administration, he would:
...instruct the Department of Justice to open an investigation into these videos and to prosecute Planned Parenthood for any criminal violations.
Cruz could've offered much bolder plans to actually stop abortion, but this statement is a hopeful sign. Hopefully he will have the opportunity to stake out a stronger position in the future.