Abortion continues to be a contentious discussion in social and political circles. Every election cycle, without fail and to varying degrees, the issue creeps up and takes it place among a plethora of other contentious subjects (click here to find out where President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney stand on the issue). Just as profoundly interesting as the debate surrounding reproductive rights (and wrongs), is the litany of questions surrounding how media outlets treat pro-life and pro-choice candidates.
Trevin Wax, managing editor of The Gospel Project at LifeWay Christian Resources, published an intriguing list entitled, “10 Questions a Pro-Choice Candidate Is Never Asked by the Media.” Clearly, the list has a conservative, pro-life bent, but it does raise some fascinating curiosities, while also challenging the mainstream media in its handling of candidates’ stances on abortion.
TheBlaze has adapted the original list to share with readers, below. Note that some of the questions have, indeed, been asked, but that, in Wax’s view, these elements have not been explored among pro-choice candidates diligently enough.
1. Considering that pro-choice candidates obviously support a woman’s right to an abortion, the first question focuses upon limitations (in light of the debate surrounding partial-birth abortion, among other practices, this seems like a rational question to ask pro-choice candidates): “Are there any restrictions you would approve of?”
2. Then, there’s the pervasive issue of “gendercide” — a subject TheBlaze has covered in the past. There’s no reason why candidates of all stripes can’t answer questions about the topic. Here’s an important one, as framed by Wax: “Does this phenomenon pose a problem for you or do you believe in the absolute right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy because the unborn fetus is female?”
3. Abortion and emergency contraception become further charged and divisive subjects when minors are involved in the mix. With parental consent being lax in some states and localities and stricter in others, this is an important subject to explore among pro-choice candidates (the new Plan B program in NYC is just one development that has spawned controversy of late). Hence, the question: “Do you support any restrictions or parental notification regarding abortion access for minors?”
4. One subject that many pro-choice politicians attempt to avoid is when life begins — perhaps the most divisive of all abortion questions. With fetal heartbeats registering as early as 18 days, technology has made the discussion even more complex. Here are two related questions from Wax on the matter: “If you do not believe that human life begins at conception, when do you believe it begins? At what stage of development should an unborn child have human rights?”
5. Studies have shown that the vast majority of women who become pregnant with Down syndrom children and find out about it through available testing choose to abort. Much like gendercide, this particular issue offers up some major ethical questions. Wax challenges pro-lifers with the following related question: “How do you answer the charge that this phenomenon resembles the ‘eugenics’ movement a century ago – the slow, but deliberate ‘weeding out’ of those our society would deem ‘unfit’ to live?”
6. Then there’s the issue of religious freedom. Earlier this year, the “War on Religion” quickly turned into an alleged “War on Women.” Considering the lawsuits currently being waged against the Obama administration over its contraception mandate, religious freedom and women’s rights are on the political docket this season. Hence, the question: “Do you believe an employer should be forced to violate his or her religious conscience by providing access to abortifacient drugs and contraception to employees?”
7. Much like gendercide and the abortion conundrum facing children with Down syndrom, some have emphasized the racial elements associated with abortion. As Wax notes, “Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. has said that ‘abortion is the white supremacist’s best friend,’ pointing to the fact that Black and Latinos represent 25% of our population but account for 59% of all abortions.” As a result, the related question is: “How do you respond to the charge that the majority of abortion clinics are found in inner-city areas with large numbers of minorities?”
8. Wax also notes that pro-choice candidates and advocates often refer to abortion as a “tragic choice.” However, the editor wonders why this terminology is used, specifically if abortion is not dubbed by many pro-choicers as “immoral.” He asks: “If abortion is not morally objectionable, then why is it tragic? Does this mean there is something about abortion that is different than other standard surgical procedures?”
9. Then, the big question, of course, is partial birth abortion. Considering the first question, above — and thinking over what should happen once a baby is able to live outside the mother’s womb on its own — the debate becomes more complicated (some would argue that it actually simplifies the debate). Even if some support abortion rights, many pro-choicers still believe that there must be a cut-off (i.e. if the child can live outside of the mother, the procedure should no longer be permitted). Wax asks, “Do you believe abortion should be legal once the unborn fetus is viable – able to survive outside the womb?”
10. And the final question — one that involves crime and the official designation of the unborn: “If a pregnant woman and her unborn child are murdered, do you believe the criminal should face two counts of murder and serve a harsher sentence?”
While these 10 questions are intriguing and worth asking of any candidate, regardless of whether he or she is pro-choice or pro-life, the media don’t always take the opportunity to do so.
What do you think? Are there any other questions not mentioned above that you’d ask of a pro-choice candidate? Add them in the comments section, below (and visit Wax’s original post here).