There's clearly nothing that riles up a Republican presidential (or vice presidential) candidate like the abortion debate. I mean, who doesn't like a chance to make an absurd statement that's totally out of line with things like science, basic human decency, and respect for women? That's probably the reason why there are so many times people have gotten abortion totally wrong in this election cycle alone.
Planned Parenthood kills actual babies? Late-term abortions happen the day before birth? Abortions after rape unfairly punish the child? Abortions to save the life of the mother are "extraordinarily rare"? You name it, they've said it. Oh, and abortion is like slavery. (That has actually been said, too.)
With such a proliferation of misinformation, it's no wonder that the abortion debate is such a fierce one across the country. Of course, those who have actually had a look at the procedures and the reasons that women undergo them know that infanticide is far from what actually goes on in an abortion clinic. However, none of the major Republican candidates from this election seem to be among that group. Here are nine of the times Republicans have gotten abortion completely, wildly wrong:
1. Carly Fiorina's Fictional Planned Parenthood Tape
Carly Fiorina, who has her own deeply held, emotional views on the abortion debate, took it a step farther at the second Republican primary debate when she claimed to have seen a video showing Planned Parenthood employees looking at an aborted fetus and saying that it needed to be kept alive to harvest its brain. Such a video, if it existed, would indeed be worthy of an investigation. But of course, it doesn't exist, and that's not how using fetal tissue for medical research works. This is fear-mongering at its finest, plain and simple.
2. Ted Cruz On Post-Rape Abortions
As yet more proof that Ted Cruz has no capacity for empathy, the Republican senator from Texas gave an interview in which he insisted that allowing abortions after a woman has been raped is an unfair punishment of the child. He apparently has given no thought to the fact that carrying a baby conceived through sexual assault might be an unfair punishment for the woman who was raped. That's hardly compassion — it's outright callousness.
3. Marco Rubio Wanting To Deny Abortions To Women With Zika
Let us not forget that Rubio has not stopped running for office, as his failed bid for president has now led him to show renewed interest in his job as a senator from Florida. That means that he's still out defending his pro-life record, this time by saying that women infected by Zika should not have access to abortions. The Zika virus, of course, causes serious birth defects — and Rubio has also worked tirelessly to get rid of Obamacare, which would help provide care for any infants born with Zika-caused microcephaly. Choose what you're against, Marco, because you can't say you "err on the side of life" and then oppose both.
4. John Kasich Posing As A Moderate
John Kasich spent his whole presidential run posing as the moderate, the unifier, the Republican that Democrats didn't have to be so afraid of. But it doesn't take much digging into his past to find that he's signed some incredibly restrictive bills into law as the governor of Ohio, not least of all the one mandating ultrasounds for women seeking abortions. Not exactly moderate, Governor.
5. Ben Carson Comparing Abortion To Slavery
It's no secret that Ben Carson liberally sprinkles in slavery and Nazi metaphors into his rhetoric, and his quote comparing women seeking abortions to slave owners doesn't actually make a whole lot of sense:
During slavery, a lot of the slave owners thought that they had the right to do whatever they wanted to that slave. Anything that they chose to do. And, you know, what if the abolitionists had said 'I don't believe in slavery, I think it's wrong, but you guys do whatever you want to do.'
Common sense was never Carson's strong point, though, so this is pretty par for the course. Need I say that drawing a parallel between abortion and slavery doesn't even merit discussion? No? OK, I'll go on.
6. Trump Ruminating On Punishments For Women
During an interview with MSNBC's Chris Matthews, Donald Trump said that women who get abortions should be punished. He quickly retracted the statement afterwards, saying that doctors who perform the abortions should be the ones punished — but recordings don't just disappear into thin air, and the damage was done. For opponents of abortion, this is actually a very logical position; why shouldn't anyone connected to a given crime be punished for it? But this logic certainly has no place in an otherwise free country.
7. Mike Pence Trying To Mandate Funerals For Fetuses
If you look closely in regard to women's rights, Mike Pence is possibly even more terrifying as a candidate than his running mate. One of his latest antics over in Indiana was signing into law a bill that would have mandated burials or cremations — a funeral service — for any aborted or miscarried fetus. Luckily, a federal judge blocked the absurdly restrictive law from going into effect, but not before women all over Indiana had begun calling Governor Pence's office with information about their periods.
8. Trump Aligning Himself With The "IUDs Cause Abortions" Wing
In an effort to prove that he really is as anti-abortion as the rest of the people that the Republican primary voters could have chosen, Trump went pretty deep into anti-choice land to find someone to head up the "Pro-Life Coalition" part of his campaign. He picked Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of an organization that claims that IUDs and emergency contraception cause "early abortions" — which is exactly in line with Trump's propensity for hewing to statements not backed up by any evidence.
9. Trump's Misguided Idea Of Late-Term Abortions
It's unclear where Trump came up with the disgusting lie about late-term abortions that he threw out during the third presidential debate, when he claimed that "in the ninth month you can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb of the mother just prior to the birth of the baby." Perhaps Marjorie Dannenfelser is to blame? Or perhaps he just knew it, because he has such a very good brain? This is obviously complete nonsense, though, no matter how good he thinks his brain is, and it's a dangerous misrepresentation of the heartbreaking situation that a late-term abortion actually is.
These are just a small sampling of the GOP's never-ending assault on Roe v. Wade. Luckily for women everywhere, the Democratic nominee is about as strong on abortion rights as possible.