Ben Carson’s Muddled Messaging on Life

Dr. Ben Carson (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
Dr. Ben Carson (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Ben Carson has time and time again affirmed his pro-life position. However, Dr. Carson has made several confusing statements that call that stance into question. These statements included bizarre, unprovoked statements in support of the abortion pill RU-486, his past participation in fetal tissue research, and his campaign’s muddled responses as to which legal restrictions on abortion Carson would support.

Some may write off past statements as having been off-the-cuff remarks, or the product of misspeaking. However, in his most recent book, “A More Perfect Union,” Dr. Carson advocates for letting the states determine the legality of abortion on their own. The passage read as follows:

There is hope that the Supreme Court may one day rule differently on abortion, but it would make more sense for the Court to allow states to decide the matter for themselves. One of the real beauties of having fifty different states governments is that almost everyone can find a place of happiness where the people believe as they do. Ultimately, it would make a great deal of sense to allow the people of each state to vote on the issue after they have been objectively educated.

That statement is diametrically opposed to the passage of the federal bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks, which Carson has previously said he supported. Moreover, it is opposed to the current strategy of the pro-life movement, which is focused on electing a pro-life president in order to pass the 20 week bill and other federal pro-life legislation.

However, the issue with that particular statement runs deeper than political strategy. Abortion is a national civil rights issue. Reducing the issue to a decision for the states to independently determine is tantamount to saying that, while the fetus is a life, it is acceptable to kill it but only in certain states.

There is a fundamental disconnect between the stance in Carson’s book and the philosophy and strategy of the pro-life movement. Dr. Carson needs to clarify his stance on life for the long primary run ahead.

Frank Cannon is the president of American Principles in Action.