There’s probably no other country in which bioethics plays a greater role in politics than in the United States. Or at least one bioethical issue – abortion. The impending election is looking increasingly like a contest between fiercely pro-abortion Hillary Clinton and muddled anti-abortion Donald Trump.
This week Trump “misspoke” for the umpteenth time, but this time the topic was abortion. At first he declared that a woman who had one should be punished, a position which he changed within the day. Now he says that the doctor should be punished.
The ensuing storm in the media meant that Trump has become the only candidate to unite pro-abortion campaigners and pro-life campaigners. Both are angry: the former because women’s reproductive rights are threatened; the latter because it distorts their message.
Trump has acknowledged that he is a “convert” to the pro-life camp, but as a spokeswoman for the Susan B Anthony List, a pro-life lobby group, said, “The most obvious thing about his comments yesterday is that he has not thought about these issues deeply.”
Better said: abortion is one of the many issues about which Trump has not thought deeply. Unfortunately, my hunch is that this controversy, like past controversies, will do him no harm at all in his race for the nomination. But November may be a different story.
The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.