By Scott Tibbs, August 31, 2009
In a discussion of health care reform, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann made the following statement that has stirred up controversy on the blogosphere and political discussion forums:
|That's why people need to continue to go to the town halls, continue to melt the phone lines of their liberal members of Congress and let them know, under no certain circumstances will I give the government control over my body and my health care decisions."|
Some Leftists have argued that the stanchly anti-abortion Bachmann is a "hypocrite" for making this statement, considering she wants the government to "control women's bodies" by prohibiting abortion. The hypocrisy argument is at least a point that can be discussed, but some Leftists have gone beyond the boundaries of reasonable political discourse by lying about Bachmann's position, claiming that she now supports the right to have an abortion. (Obvious sarcasm is not a lie, of course.)
When someone is on record for years as opposing abortion, it's fairly obvious that is not going to be included in a statement about government control over one's body. (Well, it's obvious to anyone who isn't trying to score a dishonest "gotcha.") I've argued for years that people should be able to do with their bodies as they please, regarding government's prohibition of drugs like marijuana. Even though I strongly disapprove of marijuana use, I don't think it is government's role to forbid a consenting adult from using a substance of his/her choice. That doesn't mean I think it should be legal to murder an unborn child.
Bachmann has a strong and consistent anti-abortion record. She describes herself as "a strong advocate for a culture of life" on her campaign web site and boasts that she has "earned the support of the Susan B. Anthony List, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life (MCCL), and the National Pro-Life Alliance." On her Congressional web site, she says "I firmly believe the right to life extends to all people – including the born and unborn." She was a cosponsor of HR 618, also known as the Right to Life Act, the full text of which is below:
|SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Right to Life Act'.
SEC. 2. RIGHT TO LIFE.
To implement equal protection for the right to life of each born and preborn human person, and pursuant to the duty and authority of the Congress, including Congress' power under article I, section 8, to make necessary and proper laws, and Congress' power under section 5 of the 14th article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the Congress hereby declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being.
SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.
For purposes of this Act:
(1) HUMAN PERSON; HUMAN BEING- The terms `human person' and `human being' include each and every member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, including, but not limited to, the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual member of the human species comes into being.
(2) STATE- The term `State' used in the 14th article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States and other applicable provisions of the Constitution includes the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and each other territory or possession of the United States.
Those Leftists who are seriously claiming that Bachmann is not "pro-choice" are shameless liars. So let me bottom line this with a challenge: Unless you can show me the literal, word-for-word text of where Bachmann said government should not be allowed to interfere with a decision to have an abortion, the bleating about her "flip flopping" on abortion is meaningless babble.
As to the claim of "hypocrisy", it again goes to the fundamental question about abortion: is the fetus a human being worthy of protection under the law, or is the fetus something less than a person? If the former, does the mother's autonomy over her own body override the rights of the fetus? Clearly, abortion opponents like Bachmann believe that the unborn child is a person and abortion involves much more than a decision made by a woman about her own body. Instead, abortion involves harm to the unborn child.
There is no hypocrisy in saying that people should have the right to do as they please with their own bodies, from health care decisions to drug use or even something as simple as buying cold medicine without being subject to strict regulations or having your purchases tracked by the government, and then arguing that abortion should be illegal. There's no hypocrisy in arguing that someone should be allowed to do as they please up to the point that his or her actions cause harm to another person. That's the foundation of philosophical libertarianism.