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Testing the limits of Huckabee's culture-war vision

Should a 11-year-old rape victim be forced to take a pregnancy to term? Mike Huckabee's answer matters.
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee speaks in San Diego, Calif. (Photo by Mike Blake/Reuters).
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee speaks in San Diego, Calif. on Jul. 23, 2015. 
Late last week, an 11-year-old girl in Paraguay gave birth to a baby under horrific circumstances: she was allegedly raped and impregnated by her stepfather. Under the nation's harsh anti-abortion laws, terminating that pregnancy -- which occurred when the girl was just 10 -- was prohibited.
Perhaps, given these details, the government shouldn't have forced her to take the pregnancy to term? According to Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, officials in Paraguay made the right call.

Gov. Mike Huckabee on Sunday put his support behind the decision to deny an abortion to a 10-year-old girl in Paraguay who was raped by her step-father, saying the while what happened was a "terrible tragedy," it is best not to "compound the tragedy by taking another life." The GOP presidential candidate, who has been firmly against abortion no matter the circumstance -- including rape, incest or a woman's life endangerment -- touted his consistency in his defense and used a sort of "two wrongs don't make a right" argument.

The far-right candidate conceded, "There are no easy answers here." But in the next breath, Huckabee suggested the answer is quite easy, indeed: "I just come down on the side that life is precious, every life has worth and value."
If that means the government forcing a 10-year-old to give birth following a suspected rape, so be it. (The unnamed girl had a cesarean last week.)
Of course, we're not just talking about one GOP presidential candidate out of 17 with a controversial position on abortion. Huckabee's position matters in large part because of how common it is.
The day after the recent debate for the Republicans' national field, MSNBC's Irin Carmon explained, "At the first debate among candidates vying for the GOP presidential nomination, the question was not whether or not to ban abortion or to defund Planned Parenthood. It was about whether exceptions in the case of rape, incest, or a woman's life endangerment are legitimate. Their answer: No."
That may sound like an exaggeration. It's not. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was asked whether he would let a "let a mother die" rather than terminate a life-threatening pregnancy. "Well, I'm pro-life," Walker replied. "I've always been pro-life."
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), both in the debate and in the days that followed, pushed his own no-abortions, no-exceptions position.
Remember, in the post-Roe era, every Republican presidential nominee has ended up supporting at least some exceptions to anti-abortion policymaking. But this year, many of the leading GOP candidates are eager to move further to the right.