MORGAN: Here's the dilemma, and it's one I put to Rick Santorum very recently. I was surprised by his answer, although I sort of understood from his belief point of view that he would come up with this.
But it's a dilemma that I am going to put to you. You have two daughters. You have many granddaughters. If one of them was raped -- and I accept it's a very unlikely thing to happen. But if they were, would you honestly look at them in the eye and say they had to have that child if they were impregnated?
PAUL: No. If it's an honest rape, that individual should go immediately to the emergency room. I would give them a shot of estrogen or give them --
MORGAN: You would allow them to abort the baby?
PAUL: It is absolutely in limbo, because an hour after intercourse or a day afterwards, there is no legal or medical problem. If you talk about somebody coming in and they say, well, I was raped and I'm seven months pregnant and I don't want to have anything to do with it, it's a little bit different story.
But somebody arriving in an emergency room saying, I have just been raped and there is no chemical -- there's no medical and there's no legal evidence of a pregnancy --
MORGAN: Life doesn't begin at conception?
PAUL: Life does begin at conception.
MORGAN: Then you would be taking a life.
PAUL: Well, you don't know if you're taking a life either, because this is an area that is -- but to decide everything about abortion and respect for life on this one very, very theoretical condition, where there may have been a life or not a life.
There is so much fail in this interview with Piers Morgan, it's hard to know where to begin.
Continue reading below the fold.
First, what the hell is "honest rape"? Is Ron Paul suggesting there is such a thing as dishonest rape? And how, exactly, is this distinction determined? Do we hook up the act of rape to a lie detector test? Is Paul suggesting we need some sort of bureaucracy that can classify rapes into "honest" and "dishonest"? Is this a job for PolitiFact, who can offer its services to rate rapes as true, mostly true or pants on fire?
Or maybe Ron Paul is just parroting one of conservatives' favorite talking points—that women are always pretending to have been raped in order to exploit all the glorious government loopholes that allow them to reap the awesome perks and benefits of being raped. Republicans believe these rape loophole exploiters are such a problem, in fact, that they actually tried to pass a law last year to crackdown on the problem.
But that's not the only problem in Ron Paul's bizarre answer. See, Politician Paul often cites his experience as an obstetrician-gynecologist—who, during his decades-long medical career, delivered more than 4,000 babies—to support his radical political positions on women's health care. But the medicine and the politics are at odds here.
Rule No. 1 of the "pro-life" position is that life begins at conception. That means, to them, that the second a man and woman have sex, they have created a fully formed human life. It doesn't matter whether that life cannot be detected by the human eye or even a pregnancy test; all life is sacred from the moment sperm meets egg. That is the philosophy behind the Personhood movement, to legally define that sperm-meets-egg moment as the beginning of life, and that all such eggs should be accorded the same rights and privileges as any American citizen.
Of course, Dr. Paul knows that's nonsense. Which is why he described that sperm-meets-egg moment as "limbo." Because the reality is that in the seconds, and even days, following sex—or "honest rape"—that fertilized egg may not actually turn into a person. Dr. Paul knows that a fertilized egg isn't a baby. That's why he describes this "pregnancy" as a "theoretical condition." When a woman is raped and goes to the doctor, she may or may not have been impregnated. That's exactly why emergency contraception is necessary: to prevent an egg that may have been fertilized from implanting and turning into a pregnancy.
Of course, that totally contradicts the "pro-life" position, which is why Politician Paul then contradicts himself by then insisting that "life does begin at conception."
But he refuses to say that administering emergency contraception would be "taking a life." Why? Because whether there is, in fact, a separate life is a "very theoretical condition, where there may have been a life or not a life."
What is also stunning about this interview is that Dr. Paul is admitting he would administer emergency contraception in the case of rape, but he refuses to use that terminology. See, Politician Paul knows that "pro-lifers" oppose emergency contraception because they believe, wrongly, that it is a method of abortion. Dr. Paul knows it isn't, but instead of using the words "emergency contraception" or "Plan B" or "morning-after pill," he says he would administer a "shot of estrogen."
Which is rather odd, considering that the various morning-after pills available contain other hormones. A "shot of estrogen" is not the standard emergency contraception medication. So either Dr. Paul doesn't actually know how emergency contraception works, or he simply prefers his own homemade brand. Either way, that's a pretty odd sort of treatment coming from a doctor.
The bottom line is that Dr. Ron Paul absolutely believes that a woman who has been raped, or "honest raped" anyway, should of course take emergency contraception to avoid becoming impregnated by her rapist. That's what he would do, as a doctor, for his own family.
But as a "pro-life" politician, he can't say that. So he's stuck between what he knows as a doctor and what he knows he's supposed to say as an opponent of women's health care. In this interview, where Dr. Ron Paul debates Politician Ron Paul on the merits of emergency contraception and whether it terminates a life, it seems they both lose.