I Still Don’t Know What Scott Walker Was Talking About on Abortion

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


During Thursday’s debate, Scott Walker took the most extreme position of any candidate on abortion. Not only does he oppose exceptions for rape and incest, he even opposes an exception to save the life of the mother. “I’ve said many a time that that unborn child can be protected,” he said, “and there are many other alternatives that can also protect the life of that mother. That’s been consistently proven.”

Huh? What was that supposed to mean? I was stumped then, and I’m stumped now. So I was happy to see Jonathan Allen’s subhead promising to explain it:

What Scott Walker was talking about when he said there are alternatives to abortion when the woman’s life is in danger

Great! So what was Walker talking about?

He essentially subscribes to the “double effect” doctrine, a well-established line of argument that governs how Catholic leaders think about the definition of abortion — and the desire to preserve the life of the mother and the viability of the fetus.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops, in its “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services,” makes a distinction between procedures designed to terminate a pregnancy to preserve the life of the woman and those for which the termination of the pregnancy is an unintended consequence of treating the woman….That is, the bishops believe intent matters.

Well, I’m still stumped. This Catholic doctrine governs what’s allowed and what isn’t, but it doesn’t say anything about there always being a way to protect the life of both the fetus and the mother.

So I’ll open this up to the floor. Does anyone know what Walker was referring to? What are the “many alternatives” that he claims are available to protect the life of an endangered mother? And who has supposedly consistently proven this? If you know, enlighten us in comments.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate