Ron Paul sat down with CNN’s Piers Morgan the other day, and the interview led to this rather remarkable exchange:
MORGAN: You have two daughters. You have many granddaughters. If one of them was raped – and I accept it’s a very unlikely thing to happen – but if they were, would you honestly look at them in the eye and say they had to have that child if they were impregnated?
PAUL: No. If it’s an honest rape, that individual should go immediately to the emergency room. I would give them a shot of estrogen….
There is, of course, a problem with the question itself. Morgan is working under the assumption that the daughters and granddaughters of prominent politicians are “unlikely” to face a sexual attacker. Reality doesn’t work that way.
But it’s Paul’s response that’s truly offensive. Victims of an “honest rape” should be allowed to go to the emergency room, but everyone else – presumably victims of dishonest rape? – should expect to have their reproductive rights curtailed under Ron Paul’s vision of government power.
Indeed, the Texas Republican went on to say in the same interview, “If you talk about somebody coming in and they say, ‘Well, I was raped and I’m seven months pregnant and I don’t want to have anything to do with it,’ it’s a little bit different story.”
I’ll look forward to Paul or his campaign elaborating on what, exactly, “honest rape” refers to, but the implication seems to be that American women are not to be trusted when it comes to rape claims. In context, “honest rape” seems to be, in Paul’s mind, the equivalent of “actual rape.” Those who qualify as rape victims under this Republican’s standards would be eligible for emergency contraception; those who failed to meet his standards would not. Who gets to decide? Apparently, Paul and other policymakers.
Paul, a staunch of opponent of abortion rights, is pushing a line that’s tragically common on the right: women’s claims are not to be taken at face value, and it’s up to government to draw the lines.
That Paul claims fealty to libertarian ideals makes this that much more incomprehensible.