In the state of Washington, Republican senate candidate Ryan Baumgartner is on record supporting the state’s marijuana legalization measure:
Washington is one of three states (with Oregon and Colorado) which will have an initiative on marijuana legalization on the ballot in November, and as Reason 24/7 noted its Republican Senate candidate, Michael Baumgartner, became the first state-wide candidate to endorse the measure.
Meanwhile, the Republican and Democratic candidates for governor in Washington both oppose the measure. Baumgartner, who opposes the War in Afghanistan, worked with the U.S. embassy in Iraq, and also served as a military advisor for a counter-narcotics operation in Afghanistan in 2009. It appears that the experience galvanized his opposition to both the war in Afghanistan and drug prohibition—at least when it comes to marijuana.
Unfortunately, there’s still plenty to dislike about Baumgartner, who is far from “ideal” on the matter of reproductive rights. Speaking back in August, Baumgartner defended his belief that abortion should be illegal even in cases of rape or incest, noting:
“I am still a Catholic. I still believe life begins at conception. That is consistent with my Catholic beliefs. And I believe we must protect life.”
Not exactly a ringing endorsement for those that believe in a woman’s right to choose. As far as Republicans go, however, Baumgartner has at least shown a willingness to compromise (somewhat) during his time in the Washington legislature:
Concluding that he wanted a truce in the culture wars and his campaign was about jobs and ending the war in Afghanistan, he said: “The culture wars are not why I’m in the state senate or running against my opponent. I’m pragmatic. I objected to the expansion of abortion services, but I voted for two budgets that funded [family planning] services.”
Still, this statement doesn’t really make me trust that Baumgartner would actually observe a legislative “truce” on abortion if elected in Washington. What he’s doing here is dodging questions about his abortion policies, which have very real consequences for women at home. It is silly to ask us to believe that he wouldn’t support an abortion ban if it came on his desk.
For Pro-choice Liberals and Libertarians who oppose the War on Drugs & the War in Afghanistan, Baumgartner represents a slightly well-cushioned rock positioned neatly across from the proverbial GOP hard place. There’s no question that ending the war in Afghanistan and legalizing marijuana will stop the senseless deaths of many domestic drug war victims, american soldiers, and Afghan civilians abroad. Yet an outright ban on abortion will result in the deaths of many American women. Baumgartner no doubt sees it differently: Pro-life advocates have consistently shown the ability to downplay the connection between abortion access and female mortality rates. In doing so, Pro-life advocates have demonstrated that they do think that an unborn child’s life is more important than the life of the mother. As Lynn Paltrow noted recently in the context of “Personhood” Amendments, “There’s no way to give embryos constitutional personhood without subtracting women from the community of constitutional persons[.]” In terms of moral calculus, Baumgartner’s ideal abortion policy weighs heavily against his anti-war, pro-legalization stances when we consider the life and welfare of American women.
Still, the Michael Baumgartners of the world are preferable to the GOP’s more traditional candidates, many of whom have pushed for tougher drug laws, sabre-rattled for more foreign wars, while still managing to wreck the lives of women seeking abortions at the same time. Replacing the Rick Santorums and Mike Huckabees of the world with Michael Baumgartners would be a step in the right direction; though undoubtedly a crooked, uncomfortable step for those of us who remain fierce supporters of a woman’s right to choose.
- mynameisntsir said:I feel compelled to point out that the study you link to doesn’t actually say, “Women die because they can’t abort”, but rather “Women die because they try and perform abortions in an unsafe and unsanitary manner.” Which is an important distinction and somewhat annoying…
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