US Republican Representative Joe Walsh (not the rock star of the same name) is, he says, "pro-life without exception". And in his view that means not only the widely accepted exceptions for rape and incest, but even cases where the pregnancy threatens the life of the mother. Like his party colleague Todd Akin, who famously and wrongly argued that women's bodies are able to prevent pregnancy in cases of rape, Walsh shows an alarming ignorance of female physiology. Apparently he believes that medicine has advanced to the point where no woman's life is endangered by pregnancy.
If Walsh had been able to impose his ignorance on my sister-in-law, who suffered an ectopic pregnancy a few years ago, she would be dead now instead of the healthy mother of two young children born subsequent to the operation that saved her. I can't help wondering why any woman would support the Republican Party when such ignorant prejudice is becoming increasingly characteristic of its leading figures.
In fact I have difficulty understanding the entire mentality of the so-called pro-life movement. The same people who are most fiercely opposed to abortion in any circumstances are often also opposed to sex education and even to convenient access to contraception, making it likely that more women will experience unwanted pregnancies which they will seek to terminate.
But the contradictions don't end there. If Walsh is really "pro-life without exception", why does he belong to the party that plans a massive increase in America's military budget (contrary to its claims to want to reduce the country's budget deficit). And why is it also the party more supportive of capital punishment? It seems that "without exception" really means "without exception unless the child is already born, in which case it's OK to put them into uniform and send them off to be cannon fodder somewhere; or OK to strap them to a gurney and inject them with lethal drugs". And this in the name of a god who said "blessed are the peacemakers" and commanded his followers to love their enemies.
Whether all this is hypocrisy or just stupidity, I will leave you to decide. But I hope American electors will think about it when they choose who to vote for this year.