Ohio state Rep. John Becker has made a career attempting to pronounce what others may or may not do with their reproductive organs. Throughout he tenure in the state legislature, nothing has been top of the mind for John Becker quite like what people should and should not be doing with their genitalia.
When his blood is really up, Becker has a thing for comparing homosexuality to sleeping with the house pets and livestock.
He’s also suggested Massachusetts be expelled from the Union for allowing equal marriage rights in 2003, that Alaska be allowed to secede, that condom-free zones should be established around school buildings, and he cried, yes cried, at the thought of police departments destroying confiscated firearms instead of giving them back to gun dealers.
Now Becker is peddling a proposal in the Ohio General Assembly to ban abortions in cases where the fetus is determined to have Down syndrome.
He appeared on CNN’s “New Day” Monday morning to extol his idea.
“The pro-life movement really means pro life for all innocent human life,” Becker told CNN. We’ll just have to wonder how Becker squares his interest in protecting innocent life with his insistence that illegal gun peddlers be given back their firearms instead of having such weapons removed from the streets.
It puts one in mind of the old George Carlin joke about how much conservatives care about the unborn, “but once you’re born…”
CNN’s Alisyn Camerota had some basic questions for Becker about whether he had bothered to do any due diligence on his proposal. I know you’ll find this shocking, but he didn’t.
As reported by RawStory:
“Did you talk to parents who have had to make this decision?” Camerota asked Becker.
“Well, no,” Becker said.
“And what the pro-choice side would say is that it is a deeply personal decision of parents,” Camerota responded. “And that the state is getting in the way of that personal decision… I mean, Representative, where does it stop? What else can the state tell you about how many children you should have or what other personal decisions are you comfortable with the state making for you?”
“This is a matter of a life and death decision,” Becker insisted. “And sure, this gets into the hard cases. And when you are making law based on hard cases, that generally makes for bad law. And so carving out exceptions for fetal abnormalities, and in this particular case, oftentimes — it’s not unusually anyway — when a baby is diagnosed with Down syndrome, the diagnosis is wrong. I think that occurs 20 percent of the time.”
“I’m not sure about those statistics,” Camerota replied. “It’s nice to think that all those babies would be adopted but history doesn’t necessarily prove that they are always adopted. In fact, many are institutionalized at great cost.”
“There is always cost incurred with anyone with handicaps,” Decker remarked. “Just because somebody has a disability, you know, doesn’t mean they should be discriminated against in the womb.”
But once they’re outside the womb, watch out, ’cause John Becker has some real firebrand discrimination for ya, baby.
CNN’s own reporting, with video, notes that Becker’s little proposal might cause some headaches for GOP presidential nomination contender John Kasich.
The measure also raises a tough question for Kasich — who has said he is anti-abortion rights, but also supports exemptions for cases involving rape, incest or the life of the mother. Those exceptions used to be widely supported among Republicans, but several candidates — including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee — have stated flatly that there should be no exceptions.
A Kasich campaign spokesman did not say Monday whether the governor would support the ban, citing the long prospects the measure faces in the Ohio Capitol.
“The governor is pro-life and believes strongly in the sanctity of human life, but we don’t take public positions on every bill introduced into the Ohio General Assembly,” Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said.
Kasich has carved out a niche as a moderate Republican in the field, even winning praise from former NBA star Charles Barkley, who typically supports Democrats.
But abortion remains a tricky issue for Kasich, whose position on the issue has sounded different depending on the audience.
At a town hall meeting in New Hampshire last week, where many Republicans prefer social moderates, he touted his anti-abortion credentials. But when asked by a voter if he would respect he Supreme Court’s decision in “Roe v. Wade,” Kasich called it “the law of the land” and then moved quickly onto another question.
Kasich pandering to audiences? Say it ain’t so! Just say it ain’t so!
David DeWitt is a writer and man of sport and leisure based out of Athens, Ohio. He has also written for Government Executive online, the National Journal’s Hotline, and The New York Observer’s Politicker.com. He can be found on Twitter @TheRevDeWitt.