Ann Coulter and the GOP’s Abortion Problem

In her election-week column, conservative polemicist Ann Coulter gushed about what she viewed as Romney’s superlative candidacy, and the tragedy of his defeat:

Romney was the perfect candidate, and he was the president this country needed right now. It’s less disheartening that a president who wrecked American health care, quadrupled gas prices, added $6 trillion to the national debt and gave us an 8 percent unemployment rate can squeak out re-election than that America will never have Romney as our president.

Indeed, Romney is one of the best presidential candidates the Republicans have ever fielded. Blaming the candidate may be fun, but it’s delusional and won’t help us avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

“No law is ever going to require a woman to bear the child of her rapist. Yes, it’s every bit as much a life as an unborn child that is not the product of rape. But sentient human beings are capable of drawing gradations along a line.

Now, I liked Romney more by the end of this presidential race than I ever thought I would, but I think most conservatives would agree that Romney was far from the “perfect” candidate. One of the principle reasons was his less-than-impressive record on life issues.

And apparently, according to Coulter’s view, that makes us part of the problem. Coulter takes issue with those conservative purists (like total pro-lifers) who just aren’t willing to compromise their principles to win.

Purist conservatives are like idiot hipsters who can’t like a band that’s popular. They believe that a group with any kind of a following can’t be a good band, just as show-off social conservatives consider it a mark of integrity that their candidates — Akin, Mourdock, Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell — take wildly unpopular positions and lose elections.

The cognitive dissonance of an intellectually dishonest position on abortion — one that allows for exceptions under certain circumstances — continues to create problems for true pro-life voters, as well as for the elected officials of the GOP.

There has been a bad case of foot-in-mouth disease going around when it comes to talking about the uncomfortable truths of abortion. Drawing distinctions about “legitimate rape” or failing to carefully articulate what is meant when saying that pregnancies resulting from rape are “something that God intended to happen” are human failures that distract us from the deeper issues in play: that the beginning of any new human life is always a positive good, even if the circumstances in which it came about was evil. That every human being deserves a chance to live, blossom, and flourish, even though their entrance into existence may come as the fruit of pain and suffering. That an innocent child should not be punished with death in an attempt to redress the crime perpetrated against its mother.

In other words: life is life, no matter how inconvenient, how challenging, how gut-wrenchingly tragic the circumstances. This is an issue that demands the utmost sensitivity, compassion, and care, but it is a reality we have to deal with as human beings in a fallen world. It can’t simply be swept under a rug, or dismissed as something too difficult to deal with in legislation. It’s too big of a truth to keep pretending it doesn’t exist.

But Coulter, it seems, doesn’t see it that way:

“No law is ever going to require a woman to bear the child of her rapist. Yes, it’s every bit as much a life as an unborn child that is not the product of rape. But sentient human beings are capable of drawing gradations along a line.

[ … ]

The overwhelming majority of people — including me — are going to say the law shouldn’t force someone who has been raped to carry the child.”

This thinking is wrong. Dead wrong. It sounds almost exactly like Naomi Wolf’s infamous admission:

“War is legal: it is sometimes even necessary. Letting the dying die in peace is often legal and sometimes even necessary. Abortion should be legal; it is sometimes even necessary. Sometimes the mother must be able to decide that the fetus, in its full humanity, must die.”

So where does this leave us? Intellectuals on both the left and the right agreeing that an unborn child is a human life, but that we have the right to take that life if things have gotten dicey? Where does such moral excrescence lead us?

I think it’s fair to say that Ann Coulter is not, by the standards of most conservatives, a good ambassador for conservatism in general or the Republican Party itself. But do not be fooled – what Coulter has the audacity to say blatantly underlies what many in the party have formed policies to inherently express.

How do we get from where we are today to a culture of life if this is the legislative mentality we can expect from the Right? We have to demand more. To say that “Killing an innocent human life is always wrong, except when it isn’t” is simply unacceptable.


Categories:Featured Pro-Life

  • Ogma

    .”.. a president who wrecked
    American health care, quadrupled gas prices, added $6 trillion to the
    national debt and gave us an 8 percent unemployment rate…”

    Now, how can I trust anything else she writes?.

  • Chris R

    Coulter is wrong, but we should focus on the 99% of abortion cases which are not a result of rape or incest. Protecting those 99% will go a long way to promoting a culture of life.

  • Abigail A.

    The protection of human life is not just a issue it is THE issue. We must do everything, everything, possible to protect the unborn. I think, as a young woman, that the problem was in how the candidates discussed it. Instead of talking about “legitimate rape” they should have said that rape was horrific act and the rapist should be punished. But why should we allow him to compound his act by causing the murder of another? Why should we punish the already wounded woman by causing her to suffer the agony of knowing she killed her baby? I really believe that the war against abortion must be led by women. Instead of focusing on “legitimate rape” we would focus on the child. It would transform the discussion because who really wants to kill a baby because of the sins of her father? The problem is they aren’t thinking about the child. Women must take this discussion back, and refocus on the child, not the mother.

    • Brian Wise

      Let’s say a woman is kidnapped and raped and brutally beaten. She is in the hospital within 24 hours of the rape. The doctor offers her the “morning-after pill” which, when taken up to 72 hours after intercourse, would prevent a fertilized egg, (not an embryo or a fetus, but a single-cell fertilized egg the size of the period at the end of this sentence), from implanting itself in her uterus, thus, according to the medical profession, preventing pregnancy which begins at implantation. Would you, like MANY pro-life spokespersons today, tell her “No, you cannot take that morning-after pill. You MUST allow that fertilized egg, the size of a period at the end of a sentence, to implant itself in your uterus and thus become pregnant and carry your rapist’s embryo/fetus for nine months against your will.” You would be comfortable telling women that? Please tell me how that is “killing a baby”? How is that “murder”, except in the twisted minds of certain “pro-lifers”? If most women in that situation “aren’t thinking about the child”, it’s because in that situation There Is No Child.

      • Steve Skojec

        Brian – logical consistency demands that if we believe that life begins at conception, then life (and its protections) begin at conception.

        It’s easy to argue hard hypotheticals and use them to try to frame pro-lifers as callous. But back in high school, I was friends with a guy who was conceived in raper. He was pretty happy that he had the opportunity to have his own life, regardless of how it came about. He didn’t rape his mother. Why should he have been punished?

      • Abigail A.

        The fertilized egg has its own unique genetic code. It is its own person. It is NOT the rapist’s embryo. It is God’s child. However tragic the circumstance we must not punish ANOTHER innocent life. Do I pity the poor girl? Absolutely. And I think we as a society need to make a much better effort at supporting mothers of unintended children. We need better, safer adoptions, better medical care, I think in the case of a rape it should be free, and rapist should be forced to pay restitution to that mother for the rest of his life. The child however, should not be killed.

    • Patrick

      A beautiful reflection, Abigail. Thank you.

  • Greg Popcak

    Forgive me, but we can change this by refusing to continue to endorse the loser candidates they give us. The right thing to do in this last election would have been to endorse… staying home. Get out the “don’t vote.” Face it, Romney was no serious socon candidate, but socons fell all over themselves to endorse him because he was the annointed”not-Obama.” Does anyone really think Romney would have done squat for life issues and marriage? Feh.

    If socon orgs would have just said, “Stay home. Don’t bother.” They would have been faithful to both the truth of the matter and the honest sentiments of their constituency. Further, Romney would have lost, but the perception would be that it was BECAUSE we stayed home. We promised a Romney loss and. by God, we delivered.

    Instead, we endorsed a loser for our cause and failed to deliver the win, so now it’s our fault. We’re going to be scapgoated and there is no way around it. Now socons have to spend the next decade trying to convince people that we really are relevant. Now we have to convince BOTH dems and repubs to deign to listen to us.

    Until socons have the guts to say, “To hell with it. You don’t want my vote? Fine. I’m keeping it (or voting for some third party candidate)” we will continue to make ourselves more and more irrelevant.

    • kgbla

      The question is, why was it so difficult to field any good candidates? Because they have to be, or pretend to be, a total right wing nutter just to get in?

  • Brian Wise

    Name one Catholic spokesperson or one conservative Republican spokesperson who will say, “There are NO circumstances or situations in which taking a human life is EVER justified, EVER.” As long as “pro-life Catholics” and “pro-life Republicans” continue to name circumstances and situations in which taking a human life IS justified, then “pro-choice” Americans will continue to say, “You have YOUR circumstances and I have MY circumstances in which taking a human life is justified. We just differ on the circumstances.” And, yes, I know some will start saying “Innocent! We’re talking about Innocent Life.” Well, many Innocent children, babies, and unborn babies are being killed TODAY in wars (and non-wars) that “pro-life Catholics” and “pro-life Republicans” support. Should we care about the life of the fetus in the womb? Yes. Will most Americans ever support laws that protect every fetus in the womb? Not as long as they see BORN humans killed day after day and hear their religious and political leaders say, “Well, it’s tragic, yes, but in that circumstance, in that situation, it was justified.”

    • Steve Skojec

      Brian – you have to understand that the moral precept is “thou shalt not murder” not “thou shalt not kill.” Murder has a different connotation. It involves the unjust taking of an innocent life.

      There are times when we have to take a life, but nobody would ever argue that this is a good thing. But there are never times when we have to take an innocent life.

      Do innocent lives get lost when we fight wars? Yes. Is that ever the intended consequence? From a moral standpoint, it cannot be. This is why I have long condemned actions that target civilian populations as grossly immoral, from the firebombing of Dresden to the atomic bombs in Japan. These drone strikes have gotten completely out of hand.

      That innocent lives may accidentally be taken is a fact of life, whether you’re driving a car and know you may get in an accident, or going hunting knowing there’s occasionally an accidental shooting. You calculate risk against probability, and you seek to minimize risk.

      War should seek to minimize the risk of human “collateral damage” – such a euphemistic way of saying it. When it doesn’t, I think it’s immoral.



Receive our updates via email.