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Mike Huckabee on Reproductive Rights & Abortion: Huckabee Opposes Choice

Why Does Mike Huckbee Oppose Choice, Autonomy, Equality for Women?

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Like other Republicans, Mike Huckabee opposes legal choices on a variety of issues involving reproductive rights, including abortion, emergency contraception, and comprehensive sex education. He would seek to have the 1973 decision Roe v. Wade overturned in order to ensure that abortion is criminalized, and while it's unclear if he would have the same done with contraception generally he would certainly do it with emergency contraception. Mike Huckabee's policies would increase demand for abortion through greater ignorance of sexuality and contraception, but then make abortion harder to obtain — and perhaps more dangerous. The point is to punish women who have sex through sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, and botched abortions.

On January 28, 2007, Mike Huckabee appeared on Meet the Press to make his views on abortion clear:

Q: South Dakota had some proposed legislation to outlaw all abortion except saving the life of a mother, no exceptions for rape or incest. You said you'd sign that. Why?

HUCKABEE: I always am going to err on the side of life. I believe life is precious. I have been in the pro-life camp since I was a teenager. It's because of my view that God is the creator and instigator of life. But those of us in the pro-life movement have to do also some expanding.

It has to be understood that the South Dakota law would have been one of the most restrictive possible — not even cases of rape or incest would have made an abortion possible. Mike Huckabee didn't miss that reference; in fact, he agrees that abortion should be illegal in such cases. While governor of Arkansas, he refused to authorize Medicaid to pay for an abortion for a 15-year-old girl whose own stepfather had gotten her pregnant. A federal judge had ordered the payment, but Mike Huckabee simply refused.

 

Abortion & State's Rights

Conservatives have traditionally emphasized rhetoric about "states' rights" as a way of opposing federal policies they disliked. Mike Huckabee opposes this principle when it comes to abortion — he doesn't believe that any state should be permitted to keep abortion legal:

Well, it's the logic of the Civil War. If morality is the point here, and if it's right or wrong, not just a political question, then you can't have 50 different versions of what's right and what's wrong. Again, that's what the whole Civil War was about. Can you have states saying slavery is OK, other states saying it's not? If abortion is a moral issue--and for many of us it is, and I know for others it's not. So if you decide that it's just a political issue, then that's a perfectly acceptable, logical conclusion. But for those of us for whom this is a moral question, you can't simply have 50 different versions of what's right.

Source: Fox News Sunday: 2007 "Choosing the President" interviews Nov 18, 2007

Many evangelical Christians make the comparison between abortion and slavery, which is ironic because these same Christians usually come from southern Christian churches which defended slavery 150 years ago, then Jim Crow and segregation 50 years ago. Southern, conservative, white evangelicals have little moral authority on the question of slavery and thus little justification to cite the ending of slavery as precedent for their own political agenda.

The attempt to contrast morality and politics is worth reflecting upon. All political decisions involve moral questions; using this argument from Mike Huckabee and other conservative evangelicals, we have a basis for removing almost any question from the political process to prevent people from making autonomous choices about how to live their lives. This is effectively an argument for political authoritarianism.

 

Abstinence-Only Sex Education

Evidence demonstrates that places with comprehensive sex education and access to contraceptives have lower abortion rates, but the rational conclusion that we should improve sex education is contrary to the Christian Right's anti-sex agenda. This is why Mike Huckabee supports abstinence-only eduction, despite the fact that it has no effect on reducing sexual activity, sexually transmitted diseases, or pregnancy:

Abstinence education provides a valuable counterweight to peer pressure and the message young people get from the popular culture encouraging casual relationships and separating sex from love, commitment and marriage. I do not believe in teaching about sex or contraception in public schools. That is the responsibility of parents.

I am disappointed that funding for abstinence education is not likely to be renewed by the Democrat Congress. This reversal only emphasizes how important it is for Republicans to take back Congress and win the White House with an authentic conservative in 2008. I miss the America I grew up in where the Gideons gave Bibles to fifth graders instead of school nurses giving condoms to eighth graders. With so much at stake, it's important that we return to the core values and guiding principles which have made our country great.

It's not a coincidence that Mike Huckabee contrasts giving out Bibles with giving out condoms. Abstinence-only sex education is championed by Christians who want to use public schools to promote their religious beliefs — including, for example, the idea that sex outside of marriage is immoral. Distributing Bibles in schools is itself a means for getting state support for particular religious beliefs and traditions. The America which Mike Huckabee misses is one in which Protestant Christianity was accorded extensive privileges over and above not just other religions, but even other forms of Christianity.

Abstinence-only education doesn't work, but Christians like Mike Huckabee don't support it out of any allegiance to the idea that school or government programs should actually be effective. It is, instead, an ideological commitment to both the principles of traditional Christianity and the belief that only by promoting Christianity can the government do what is right. We are looking at an ideological commitment to Christian Nationalism, not a pragmatic commitment to policies that can be proven to achieve the legitimate ends of civil government.

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