Ever since Donald Trump spoke the truth about the way most anti-abortion supporters feel — that a woman should be punished for having an abortion — the rest of the anti-choice crowd has been tying themselves in knots trying to back away from the logical conclusion that if abortion is murder, then the perpetrators should face criminal penalties. Mr. Trump himself has changed his story several times and now, to no one’s surprise, is blaming MSNBC’s Chris Matthews for asking the question in the first place.
All the other GOP candidates are being asked the same question, and they are all finding ways to separate themselves from the answer Mr. Trump gave and yet not destroy their credibility with the anti-abortion crowd. That leads to some rather convoluted responses, including this bit of wheel-spinning from Ohio Gov. John Kasich on ABC on Sunday:
KASICH: Well, George, I hope they — they do repeal “Roe v. Wade” and then, you know, it will be up to the states to decide how — how they want to proceed. It will be up to them to figure out what they want to do. And that’s precisely what we would do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you said there are legitimate and constitutional restrictions that could be put on abortion.
What are they?
KASICH: Well, George, I don’t — you know, when you say constitutional restrictions or whatever (INAUDIBLE)…
STEPHANOPOULOS: Those are your words.
KASICH: — the only thing I would tell you is I’ve been — yes, well, I don’t — I don’t know when I said it or why I said that in particular. It’s probably out of context. But, look, I am opposed to abortion in except the case of rape, incest and life of the mother. I hope “Roe v. Wade” will be repealed. And — and then it will be turned to the states and the states will have to figure out exactly what the restrictions ought to be, period, end of story.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So but if — if you believe that abortion is taking of an innocent life, how would you enforce a ban on that activity?
KASICH: Well, that will be up to the states to figure out what they want to do. And, you know, obviously, when we have seen these comments that have come out earlier this week, it’s the first time I’ve seen the pro-life and the pro-choice people come together to say, you know, that we’ll have to basically work this out and trying to punish a woman would not be the appropriate way to behave.
And I think it’s going to take people, in a reasonable way, working through it.
Nice try, Governor. “States rights” is the argument that segregationists and homophobes have been using to justify their bigotry for generations.
The most glaring inconsistent and bullshit argument is that decisions on abortion laws should be left up to the states. But if abortion is murder, does that mean that he’s okay with it being left up to the states? If Ohio jails a woman for having an abortion but California has drive-through abortion clinics, is that okay with him, too? Murder is murder, regardless of state boundaries. But hey, if it’s left up to the states, it’s all good.
Trying to temper your stand on a controversial issue that you know will backfire if you say what you really think is what passes for being a “moderate” today.