Miranda Blue's blog

Marco Rubio's Fetal Personhood Argument In Disguise

In last week’s GOP presidential debate, Mike Huckabee made an explicit argument in favor of radical fetal personhood laws, claiming that Congress could pass a law granting rights to fertilized eggs and fetuses under the 14th and Fifth Amendments, thus criminalizing all abortion and possibly common forms of birth control in one fell swoop.

But one of Huckabee’s fellow candidates made a very similar comment, which has received less attention because he did not explicitly acknowledge the personhood movement. Here’s what Marco Rubio said when Fox News’ Megyn Kelly asked about his support for abortion bans that have contained exceptions for survivors of rape and incest, a deal-breaker for personhood proponents:

Kelly: You don’t favor a rape and incest exception?

Rubio: I have never said that. And I have never advocated that. What I have advocated is that we pass law in this country that says all human life at every stage of its development is worthy of protection. In fact, I think that law already exists. It is called the Constitution of the United States.

And let me go further. I believe that every single human being is entitled to the protection of our laws, whether they can vote or not. Whether they can speak or not. Whether they can hire a lawyer or not. Whether they have a birth certificate or not. And I think future generations will look back at this history of our country and call us barbarians for murdering millions of babies who we never gave them a chance to live.

As Katie McDonough at Fusion pointed out, Rubio’s answer was a “roundabout” personhood argument.

By saying that the Constitution already entitles fertilized eggs and fetuses to “the protection of our laws” and that Congress merely needs to “pass a law” stating that “says all human life at every stage of its development is worthy of protection,” Rubio seems to be arguing for a personhood bill such as that proposed by fellow GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul in the Senate. (Personhood proponents believe that there is a loophole in Roe v. Wade that allows a ban on all abortions and some common forms of birth control to be accomplished legislatively, rather than through a constitutional amendment.)

However, Rubio did not sign on as a cosponsor of Paul’s bill. And the Florida senator has supported abortion bans containing rape and incest exceptions, although he clarified after the debate he did so out of political necessity, not because he supports such exceptions.

Even anti-choice activists are unclear about what Rubio meant in his answer to Kelly. The Christian Post thinks that Rubio was taking the same position on Personhood as Huckabee. Personhood USA, the group behind state-level personhood ballot measures, was more skeptical, writing that while Rubio expressed a “noble sentiment,” he must “repent” for supporting laws containing rape and incest exceptions and “will have to clarify” his position.

What is clear is that Rubio’s answer was calculated to appeal to radical anti-choice activists without being immediately off-putting to viewers who are terrified of fetal personhood laws. Beyond that, he should be asked to clarify what his position on personhood really is.

Huckabee Goes All In On 'Equal Protection' And 'Due Process' For Zygotes

In a field of GOP presidential candidates who spent a good part of their first presidential debate trying to out-extreme each other on the issue of abortion restrictions, Mike Huckabee is trying to stand out by going all in on the idea of fetal personhood, which would criminalize abortion under all circumstances and could even ban common forms of birth control. 

As we noted last week, Huckabee seems to have gotten behind the idea that fertilized eggs and fetuses can be granted equal protection and due process rights under the 14th and Fifth Amendments through simple legislation, rather than a constitutional amendment, a legal theory that is disputed by even some major anti-choice groups.

Although Huckabee remains vague on how he would go about granting constitutional rights to zygotes, he seems to have decided that talking about fetal personhood — an idea so unpopular that it has been repeatedly rejected by voters, even in the deep-red states of Mississippi and North Dakota — is his ticket to the GOP nomination.

In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody, Huckabee said that the personhood issue is what “separates” him from the other GOP candidates (despite the fact that Rand Paul sponsored a personhood bill in the Senate). He also explicitly rejects the anti-choice movement’s strategy of chipping away at abortion access, saying that although he does want to "eradicate Planned Parenthood," the GOP also needs “to ratchet up this discussion.”

I think it’s time for us to realize that this is not just about us creating a few little restrictions here and there, stopping funding for various organizations. That’s all good, and I’ve been a part of those efforts, signed every piece of legislation imaginable as a governor when I was in Arkansas, helped pass a human life amendment in Arkansas to our state constitution before I even got involved in politics. But I think now that we really need to focus on that this is about personhood, this is about, is that baby a human being? Because if it is, then, David, we have a constitutional responsibility under the Fifth Amendment for due process, we have a responsibility under the 14th Amendment for equal protection, to provide a protection and due process for that person.

So I think we need to ratchet up this discussion and make it not so much about whether we’re going to fund a particular Planned Parenthood organization — which certainly doesn’t need to be funded, they’re butchers, they should have not tax dollars whatsoever. But even if we eradicate Planned Parenthood, you still have 4,000 babies a day that are dying, so why don’t we take the issue where it really belongs, and that’s personhood.

And the one thing that I think separates me from the other candidates, all of whom are pro-life, or they say they are, is that I think it’s time to invoke the Fifth and 14th Amendment and make this an issue of personhood and start protecting innocent life, that’s how we should be approaching this.

Right Wing Round-Up - 8/7/15

  • Joe Jervis: Ben Carson: America As We Know It Will Be Destroyed By Independent Trump Run.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 8/7/15

Bryan Fischer: Going To A Gay Friend's Wedding Is Like Attending The 'Grand Opening' Of Their 'New Crack House'

One of the most memorable moments of last night’s GOP presidential debate was when Ohio Gov. John Kasich said that despite his “traditional” view on marriage he had recently attended the wedding of gay friends. This earned Kasich applause from the debate’s audience, just four years after a similar audience had booed a gay service member.

But some people did not appreciate Kasich’s answer, including American Family Radio’s Bryan Fischer, who explained on his radio program today that attending a gay friend’s wedding is like attending the “grand opening celebration” of a friend’s “new crack house” because you are simply “enabling” that friend’s behavior.

“Really, the issue comes down to what do you think of this kind of behavior,” Fischer said. “Is this good behavior, is this healthy behavior, is this moral behavior, is this the kind of behavior that we ought to celebrate, that we ought to promote?”

“If you have somebody you love and they were dealing crack and they were opening up a new crack house and they were having a grand opening celebration and they invited you to come and be a part of the grand opening celebration of this crack house, would you go?” he asked. “Of course not!”

Fischer made a similar comparison in a column earlier this year.

Gohmert: Obama Using Immigrants To 'Dilute' Votes Of People Who Know How To Keep 'Republic Going'

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, speculated in a radio interview yesterday that President Obama wants to increase the number of skilled-worker visas in order to “dilute” the American voting pool with people who haven’t “been educated about the responsibilities of keeping a republic going.”

Discussing H-1B visas with Virginia talk radio host John Fredericks, Gohmert said, “Wow, John, it’s like the president has some idea that he wants to just dilute people that have been educated about the responsibilities of keeping a republic going out there voting, Isn’t that a crazy idea.”

Gohmert and Fredericks also expressed frustration that the House GOP leadership has yet to move to defund Planned Parenthood after the release of a series of videos smearing the organization, which both said was just bringing America closer to a “day of reckoning.”

“People are starting to feel that there’s going to be a day of reckoning for all this stuff,” Fredericks said, “whether it’s $20 trillion in debt, $123 trillion of unfunded mandates, or 60 million abortions since Roe v. Wade, and now dismembering babies. I mean, there’s going to be a day of reckoning, it always happens throughout history.”

“Yes, and there will be a day of reckoning and we know it’s coming,” Gohmert said, “so it’s really outrageous for us not to be out there dealing with these critical issues.”

Sandy Rios: Obama An 'Atheist' With 'Muslim Sympathies'

The American Family Association’s Sandy Rios devoted her radio program this morning to taking calls from listeners about last night’s Republican presidential debates on Fox News. One listener, who identified himself as “Dave” called in to say that he would “love to see a Ted Cruz–Ben Carson ticket” and “then in eight years, I’d love to see Ben Carson be the first black president” in contrast to the current “Muslim president.”

Rios responded with her own theories about President Obama’s religious affiliation: “We know that he loves the Muslim community and he’s certainly sympathetic and he loves the call to prayer and we’ll say no more, we don’t know — I kind of think he’s an atheist, Dave, to be honest with you, with Muslim sympathies, I always need to clarify that.”

Rios  then got back to Dave’s Cruz-Carson dream ticket, and said she would love to form a “team” of all the GOP nominees, each of whom would take over one governmental department and form “a phalanx of cleaning house.”

Perkins: Impeach Obama For 'Doing More To Help Our Enemies Than To Help Our Country'

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins repeated his call for the impeachment of President Obama yesterday, saying that the president’s “actions suggest he is doing more to help our enemies than to help our country.”

“The problem with the president is that he has been deceptive,” Perkins said in response to a listener who called in to his “Washington Watch” radio program. “The problem with the president is that he has been lawless. He has ignored the Constitution, he has lied to the American people and his actions suggest he is doing more to help our enemies than to help our country.”

“And so this feeling of frustration that Americans are feeling is not normal,” he said. “It’s not political, it’s not partisan, it goes beyond that. This goes to the heart of the issue that people that care about this country, their families, their future, they don’t see this president as defending and advocating for America. I’m not sure what he’s advocating for.”

“He is deconstructing this nation,” Perkins continued. “He’s done it in our military, now he’s done it in our foreign policy” with the Iran deal.

When another listener called in to ask why Obama has not yet been impeached, Perkins seconded the call.

“When you begin to operate deceptively, when you violate the boundaries by which the American people have agreed to be governed, you have crossed the line,” he said, “and I think this president has crossed the line.”

He lamented that the Republican Party doesn’t have the “backbone” to begin impeachment proceedings, which is why, he said, Donald Trump is proving so popular among GOP primary voters: “Donald Trump, he is the result of the Republican Party. He is doing so well because the Republicans refuse to do what the American people elected them to do.”

Scott Walker's Black Lives Matter Expert Wants Black Lives Matter To 'Shut Up'

Yesterday’s GOP presidential debate on Fox News, perhaps unsurprisingly, devoted less than a minute to the Black Lives Matter movement and its concerns. Fox’s Megyn Kelly directed exactly one question about the movement to one candidate, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who gave a bland answer about providing for better “training” for law enforcement officers.

But Walker’s answer contained one interesting tidbit, which he clearly knew would resonate with regular Fox News viewers. Walker referred in his answer to the advice of his “friend” Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, whom he noted had been a guest on Fox News:

Well, I think the most important thing we can do when it comes to policing — it's something you've had a guest on who's a friend of mine Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who's talked to me about this many times in the past — it's about training. It's about making sure that law enforcement professionals, not only in the way in to their positions but all the way through their time, have the proper training, particularly when it comes to the use of force. And that we protect and stand up and support those men and women who are doing their jobs in law enforcement. And for the very few that don't, that there are consequences to show that we treat everyone the same here in America.

Walker probably assumed that regular Fox viewers would recognize Clarke’s name, as the sheriff is a rising Tea Party star who makes frequent appearances on the conservative network to assure its viewers that the Black Lives Matter movement is wrong and that there are no racial disparities in policing.

In his Fox appearances, Clarke has said that he would have used “more force” against a group of black teenage girls who were tackled by police outside a swimming pool in Ohio, telling people who pointed out a racial component in the case to “shut up already”; blamed Sandra Bland for the way she was treated by the police; called a Ferguson, Missouri, plan to install a plaque memorializing Michael Brown an “appeasement” and a “disgrace”; derided criminal justice reform as an ineffective “social engineering experiment”; and declared that “the real issue in the country as it relates to crime” is “the disproportionate involvement by young black males.”

In response to the Black Lives Matter movement, Clarke offers a response made for Fox News:

"The real [problem] in the American ghetto, and it is not the American police officer, it is modern liberalism that has been a wrecking ball on the black community and the black family structure," Clarke said.

Clarke has taken his message to other conservative media outlets as well, insisting that Michael Brown“ chose thug life” so was “a coconspirator in his own demise” and claiming that President Obama is using controversies over police killings as part of a plot to “emasculate” law enforcement, “get rid of the Constitution” and implement a “socialist agenda.”

Clarke recently parlayed his conservative media stardom into his very own radio show on Glenn Beck’s The Blaze network, using one of his first programs to call for a revolution complete with “pitchforks and torches” in response to the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. In a WorldNetDaily column, he wrote that the decision may have presented a “Lexington-Concord type moment.”

The Milwaukee County sheriff became a hero to the gun lobby when he urged his constituents to arm themselves rather than count on calling 911. He told conspiracy theorist Alex Jones that federal gun control laws could launch “the second coming of the American Revolution, the likes of which would make the first revolution pale by comparison.” And he used his speaking slot at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention this year to throw red meat to the crowd, including a call for the arrows on the Great Seal of the United States to be replaced with a semi-automatic rifle.

Walker clearly sees Clarke as an important ally: Earlier this summer, signed a pair of laws weakening Wisconsin’s gun regulations in Clarke’s office.

What Mike Huckabee Means By Giving 14th Amendment Rights To Fetuses

Last night’s Republican presidential debate on Fox News featured plenty of disturbing rhetoric about women, from the ridiculous (Donald Trump’s weird ad hominem attack on Rosie O’Donnell) to the infuriating (Marco Rubio speaking out against rape and incest exceptions) to the terrifying (Scott Walker clarifying that he does not support allowing abortions that would save the lives of pregnant women).

But Mike Huckabee took things to a new level when he calmly presented his plan to grant legal “personhood” to fertilized eggs and fetuses.

Some commentators have mistaken Huckabee’s comment as a call for a constitutional amendment to reverse Roe v. Wade. That’s not what he meant.

Instead, Huckabee was embracing a radical legal theory, disputed even in anti-choice circles, that holds that a constitutional amendment overturning Roe isn’t necessary to end legal abortion. This theory holds that the majority opinion in Roe contains a magic loophole that allows Congress to simply declare zygotes “persons” under the Fifth and 14th Amendments, which would then criminalize abortion nationwide in one fell swoop, no constitutional amendment needed. One of the most adamant proponents of this theory in Congress is Huckabee’s fellow GOP presidential candidate, Rand Paul.

Here was Huckabee’s answer to Chris Wallace’s question about his “strong positions on social issues,” including favoring “a constitutional amendment banning abortions, except for the life of the mother”:

Chris, I disagree with the idea that the real issue is a constitutional amendment. That's a long and difficult process. I've actually taken the position that's bolder than that.

A lot of people are talking about defunding Planned Parenthood, as if that's a huge game changer. I think it's time to do something even more bold. I think the next president ought to invoke the Fifth, and 14th Amendments to the Constitution now that we clearly know that that baby inside the mother's womb is a person at the moment of conception.

The reason we know that it is is because of the DNA schedule that we now have clear scientific evidence on. And, this notion that we just continue to ignore the personhood of the individual is a violation of that unborn child's Fifth and 14th Amendment rights for due process and equal protection under the law.

It's time that we recognize the Supreme Court is not the supreme being, and we change the policy to be pro-life and protect children instead of rip up their body parts and sell them like they're parts to a Buick.

As we detailed in our recent report on the personhood movement, this plan is not popular with many of the major anti-choice groups, which have been pursuing a strategy of slowly chipping away at abortion access and the legal protections in Roe, and who argue that a federal personhood bill would backfire bigtime.

But if Huckabee’s dubious legal strategy were to work, the consequences would be enormous. Not only would granting “personhood” to fetuses ban abortion in all but the rarest case where a pregnant woman and a fetus are both in mortal danger, it would put women who suffer miscarriages at risk of prosecution and jail time. The ambiguous wording of such measures has led many to fear that they could also outlaw common forms of birth control.

And the consequences could extend far beyond reproductive rights, as we wrote in our recent report:

By redefining what it means to be a person under the law, personhood measures could also have a broad legal impact on issues unrelated to reproductive rights, threatening to upend everything from inheritance law to census results . In 2014, the Colorado Bar Association opposed the state’s personhood ballot measure, warning that the vaguely worded measure would have “potentially serious, unintended and unknown consequences for Colorado lawyers. … From areas of Family Law to Probate Law to Real Estate Law, as well as the explicit effect on Criminal Law and Wrongful Death statutes, this Amendment could create uncertainty and endless litigation.”

Mike Huckabee’s support for the personhood movement is nothing new. But in declaring his intention to give 14th Amendment rights to fertilized eggs in a nationally televised debate, he gave a fringe movement what may be its biggest stage yet.

Share this page: Facebook Twitter Digg SU Digg Delicious