Tea Party standard-bearer Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) today refused to state her position on legal abortion access for rape victims, repeatedly dodging questions from the debate moderator during a radio debate with challenger Jim Graves.
Bachmann has been a longtime supporter of the so-called “Personhood Amendment,” a measure that would outlaw all abortions, some types of birth control, and potentially in-vitro fertilizations. But in today’s debate, Bachmann would not clarify whether she would support abortion access for rape victims, repeatedly saying, “I agree with the Catholic Church,” and vaguely suggesting that there could be “waivers” for certain unnamed conditions:
BACHMANN: And it isn’t just these very rare cases that we deal with, it’s the big overall issue of abortion and the legality of abortion. And 52 million lives is a lot. And again, my position is in line with the Catholic Church, that’s been my position for 40 years, it hasn’t changed.
MODERATOR: Representative, just at the end there though, there, you heard what Richard Mourdock said and you know that has been controversial: ‘God intended this to happen’ if a fetus results as a consequence of that rape. And I want to know if you agree with that.
BACHMANN: Well what I agree with is that I’m 100 percent pro-life and I agree with the Catholic Church on that issue.[...]
MODERATOR: Just to be clear here though, we are talking about an amendment to the U.S. Constitution here. Declaring personhood, right? From the moment of conception.
BACHMANN: If– what — From the moment of conception declaring the personhood of an individual would again be in line with saying that I am 100 percent pro-life and I believe in the protection of human life from conception to natural death.
The back-and-forth goes on. Listen:
The Catholic Church hierarchy does not support abortion access for rape victims, and will only consider abortion in extremely limited circumstances when it is necessary to save the life of the woman — although abortion rights in life-threatening situations remain contested.
Bachmann likely refused to clarify her position because she feared a backlash similar to what Senate candidates Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin faced after they stated their opposition to providing access to legal abortion for women who conceived through rape. But Bachmann’s record is clear as day: She refers to abortion as a ‘holocaust,’ has participated in events with Personhood USA, a group that opposes abortion in cases of rape, and she has she would unconstitutionally roll back the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade.