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Political Mercury

Clovis: Criminalizing abortion ‘a bridge too far’

4/30/2014

“I believe life begins at conception and life should be protected from conception to natural, dignified death. There should be no exceptions for protecting life. However, the judicial system of the nation has protected certain options.”

But the Republican U.S. Senate candidate from Hinton is not so clear in an interview. Clovis said abortion can be eliminated in the United States, not through threat of incarceration or fine, but rather by sheer moral force. Which places him in shouting distance, if not comfortable company, with former President Bill Clinton and others of the “safe, legal and rare” persuasion on abortion.

Clovis said he wants to see a “cultural decision” that makes abortion something no longer done “because it’s the taking of a life.”

“If we’re going to put a penalty or a punishment on that and criminalize that, I think that’s a bridge too far,” Clovis said.

But Clovis believes life begins at conception. So wouldn’t abortion be the same as a convenience-store stick-up gone bad, with a dead clerk?

“I honestly don’t know about the criminalization of this,” Clovis said.

Isn’t that the end game of the pro-life movement, criminalizing abortion? If it’s not illegal, then isn’t abortion what it is right now — a fierce fight for the hearts and minds of women and their physicians?

“I don’t know,” Clovis said. “I don’t think so. That’s not my endgame.”

Clovis had lots to say about abortion, though. Clovis insisted he’d protect life from the moment of conception. What’s more, no taxpayer money ever should go to organizations that provide abortions, Clovis argued.

But if a woman of financial means finds a willing abortion doctor, what stands in the way of that abortion? Pleading and arguing and religious appeals? No arrests? No fines?

“I really haven’t thought about the criminalization,” Clovis said.

So does he think the pro-life movement can stop abortion without criminal penalties?

“Yeah, yeah,” Clovis said.

Then he raised a question of his own — which reveals why he’s not thought about criminalization. Clovis may posture on the issue of abortion, but intellectually, he doesn’t see a way clear to the end of abortion in America.

“Let me ask you this: Do you think it’s possible with a cultural shift in this nation that it will ever be eliminated? Do you think it could be?”

Most true pro-life advocates believe that with all their heart. CV

Douglas Burns is a fourth-generation Iowa newspaperman who writes for The Carroll Daily Times Herald and offers columns for Cityview.                 

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