George W. Bush holds a most contradictory stand on abortion.
Earlier this decade he said: “I do not like abortions. I will do everything in my power to restrict abortions.” Yet when asked if he would seek a constitutional ban on all abortions, he replied in the affirmative — except in cases of rape, incest, or when the pregnant woman’s life is endangered.1
The anti-abortionist’s fundamental premise is that a pregnant individual carries, from conception onward, a human being with rights. Those people committed to this premise, such as Pat Buchanan, believe that all embryos and fetuses — even those conceived through any circumstance of rape — have a “right to life.” To them, a fetus’ life has precedence over the woman’s life always — regardless of its threat to her life, her suffering with an unwanted child, and the biological deformities children often acquire when conceived through incest.
The anti-abortionists such as Mr. Bush who recognize the viciousness of this premise but nevertheless adopt a “moderate” stand to it when the unusual circumstance of a rape- or incest-induced or life-threatening pregnancy arises, are dropping completely their fundamental premise that regards any fetus as an innocent with an absolute “right to life” over the woman’s life.
Such compromising anti-abortionists may feel that under these terrible circumstances the woman must retain her rights while the fetus loses its (alleged) rights. But since they maintain that a fetus conceived through consensual sex has a “right to life,” why then do they drop this premise with a fetus conceived through rape or incest? Since a fetus cannot choose its parents or the circumstance under which it is conceived, why then don’t they hold that such a fetus also has a “right to life”? Isn’t it, according to their alleged core beliefs, just as “innocent” as all other fetuses?
You may argue that these compromisers are at least adopting some reasonable principles in regard to abortion. But as long as they continue to uphold a fetus’ “rights” under normal circumstances of impregnation and pregnancy after they’ve taken an opposite stand based on different circumstances, they’ve not only completely dropped their fundamental premise, they’ve essentially adopted the cowardly vacuum of moral neutrality — that is, of standing for nothing.
If they are to seek consistency and stand for freedom, George W. Bush and other anti-abortionist compromisers cannot do so by opposing abortion under all circumstances and outlawing it. They must completely uproot their dominant, vicious fundamental premise, which enslaves the individual to her embryo or fetus, and plant a rationally consistent premise.
This requires that they first understand that an embryo or fetus is a potential, not an actual, human being. And that while under certain circumstances and for certain reasons it can be immoral to terminate a fetus, it nonetheless remains a potential human without rights until it is born, until it has reached the basic requirement that makes one human: a being physically separate from its host, the woman — the actual human being. Thus, she has a right to her life and, therefore, a right to an abortion at any stage during her pregnancy.
However, George W. Bush’s dominant but affected position on abortion remains the vicious belief that a pregnant individual must sacrifice her life to mother an unwanted child. That as president he may nominate a Supreme Court judge who would vote to overturn the individual’s right to an abortion, and that he may seek a constitutional amendment to effect his anti-abortion beliefs, are enough reasons in themselves to oppose his candidacy.