Here is the source document for the comments Congressman King recently made regarding his “no exceptions” pro-life position.
View the footage for yourselves to see what King actually said.
Here’s a hint: King’s remarks were not accurately portrayed by the Des Moines Register or The Associated Press. In fact, each entity has subsequently issued corrections for their coverage of King’s speech.
Here is a transcript of King’s remarks that provides accuracy and context left out of much of the media coverage.
“We moved this along to 174 co-sponsors. I had solid promises that we would get a mark-up in Judiciary Committee. I kept getting messages to accept an amendment for exceptions for rape and incest.
“I’ve got 174 people who say they don’t want exceptions for rape and incest because they understand it is not the baby’s fault, to abort the baby, because of the sin of the father, and maybe sometimes the sin of the mother too, and so I refused to do that. I just kept pushing the pressure up. We had the votes in the judiciary committee to peel off every amendment and put that bill on the floor, and pass it on the floor. And put the marker down that exceptions are not going to be part of the dialogue any further because this is about the sanctity of human life.
And so I refused to do that and down to the last couple days of our lame duck session, that order came back out of leadership – ‘no mark-up, no floor action!’ Boom. And so, all right, I held the ground on principle. Maybe we could have gotten that to the floor if I compromised, it wasn’t going to move through the Senate anyway, but we still stand on these principles of life.
Since then, I started to think. We know the reasons why we don’t want the exceptions, for the most of us, for rape and incest – because it is not the baby’s fault. And I started to wonder about this, what if it was OK and what if we went back through all of our family trees and just pulled those people out who were products of rape and incest, would there be any population of the world left if we did that? Considering all of the wars, all of the rape and pillage that has taken place, whatever happened with culture after society, I know I can’t certify that I’m not part of a product of that.
And I would like to think that every one of the lives of us are as precious as any other life, and that is our measure. Human life cannot be measured. It is the measure itself against which all things are weighed. Human life, not a qualifier there, it’s not about whether you are one day after conception or one day after birth or one day before your 100th birthday, all life has equal value according to the law and equal value according to God.”
I bought them online. They’re easy to get, and they’ll change everything.
One afternoon about a year ago, just as the Senate began considering Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, I logged on to Day Night Healthcare, an online pharmacy based in India, and ordered a pack of abortion pills. A few hours later, I got a call from a Day Night customer-service agent with a warning. If my credit-card company called to ask about the purchase, “tell them you approve the charge, but don’t say what it’s for,” the man advised. “If they ask, say it’s gym equipment, or something like that.”
In fact, the bank never called, and in a week and a half, a small brown envelope — bearing a postmark not from India but from New Jersey — arrived in the mail. Inside was a foil blister pack stamped with a manufacturer’s logo, dosage information and batch-identification numbers. It contained five pills. One was a 200-milligram dose of mifepristone, better known by its code name during its development in the 1980s, RU-486. The four others were 200 micrograms each of misoprostol, a drug used widely in obstetrics and gynecology, including to induce contractions.
The pills looked unremarkable; tiny, white, round, they did notbetray what some abortion-rights advocates say are their epic possibilities. Mifepristone was approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration nearly 20 years ago. Used in combination with misoprostol for pregnancies of up to 10 weeks, the pills are more than 97 percent effective.
The drugs, which have been used by tens of millions of women around the world, are also some of the safest known to modern medicine — mifepristone has accumulated a record of adverse complications lower than that of Tylenol, Flonase, Xanax and Viagra. In 2017, Canadian regulators lifted most restrictions on the drug, allowing it to be prescribed by any doctor, without requiring an ultrasound, and dispensed in any pharmacy.
Yet thanks to the digital handiwork of an emerging faction within the global reproductive-rights movement, restrictions on abortion pills are becoming increasingly difficult to enforce. Despite the F.D.A.’s restrictions, activists have created a robust online market that makes getting pills surprisingly easy. There are “report cards” on where to find tested drugs, detailed guides on how to use them safely, a help line for consulting with legal experts, and dozens of discussion boards and support groups helping women navigate the fraught decision of whether and how to terminate a pregnancy.
Amid growing restrictions on clinic-based abortions, the online pill market functions as a haven of last resort for desperate women. “The women who come to us don’t have any other alternatives,” said Rebecca Gomperts, a Dutch physician and founder of Aid Access, which offers abortion pills online for about $90, with discounts for patients in financial straits. “They don’t have funds, or they are six hours away from the clinic, or they don’t have transport, they have small kids, they live in cars, there are situations of domestic violence — it’s just really bad situations.” In 2018, Gomperts prescribed the drug online to 2,581 patients.
But the pills aren’t just a way to evade today’s restrictions on abortion. Some activists argue that they can also remake tomorrow’s politics surrounding abortion — that the very presence of the underground market could force the authorities to loosen restrictions on abortion pills, eventually paving the way for an alternative vision for terminating a pregnancy in the United States: the inexpensive, safe, very early, private, at-home, picket-line-free, self-managed medical abortion.
“Did you feel a little rush when your pills arrived?” Elisa Wells, a director of the pill-advocacy group Plan C, asked me during a recent phone call. “It’s like, wow — it’s amazing that this really works.”
She’s right: I did feel a little rush when I got my first pills. I’d expected the whole thing to be onerous. And so, probing for hidden difficulties, I tried again, and again.
In the last year, I’ve ordered abortion pills from four different online pharmacies. The process was sometimes sketchy. There were poorly translated websites and customer-service reps messaging me over Skype with the greeting “yo.” I declined to pursue one order because the site asked me to wire money to a random address in India. After I filled out its consultation form, Aid Access sent me an email asking me if I really am pregnant, as I have a man’s name and “the woman must confirm” that she is ordering the drugs of her own accord; since I’m a man and not pregnant, I didn’t place the order.
But most of my orders came through fine. Each of the three pill packages I got cost me between $200 and $300, including expedited shipping. (The average cost of an abortion in the United States is about $500.)
I spent months looking for a lab that would test my pills; many waved me off, wary of controversy. Finally, I got in touch with Alan Wu, chief of the clinical chemistry laboratory at San Francisco General Hospital, whose lab tested a couple of my mifepristone tablets. The finding: They were authentic. I wasn’t surprised; in a more comprehensive study conducted by Gynuity Health and Plan C, published last year in the journal Contraception, researchers in four states ordered abortion pills from 16 different online pharmacies, and found they were all just what they said they were.
Each time I got a pack of pills in the mail, I was increasingly bowled over: If this is so easy, how will they ever stop this? I’ve been watching digital markets for 20 years, and I’ve learned to spot a simple, powerful dynamic: When something that is difficult to get offline becomes easy to get online, big changes are afoot.
Which is not to say that everyone is on board with the online market for pills. While there’s a growing consensus in the American medical establishment that restrictions on abortion drugs no longer make medical sense, I spoke to several abortion-rights advocates who worried about a parade of horrors that might swamp the movement if the underground online pill market were left to grow unfettered: women getting fake pills, getting ripped off, getting ill, getting slipped pills by men or getting prosecuted.
The activists building the online pill network acknowledge that there are potential dangers in the market — but they insist that the risks are far smaller than many guess. In a study of more than 1,000 Irish women who obtained pills from Women on Web, a pill-dispensing group Gomperts created in 2005, fewer than 1 percent reported adverse effects requiring further medical attention. “Providing abortions this way is as safe as a clinic-based abortion,” Gomperts told me.
For providers and users, legal risk is also relatively low. Regulators have little capacity to enforce restrictions on foreign distributors. In March, the F.D.A. sent a letter to Aid Access demanding that it cease operations immediately. The organization sent a letter back saying, essentially, nope. What happens next is anybody’s guess.
Since 2000, at least 21 people have been arrested in the United States for ending a pregnancy or helping someone do so using pills, according to If/When/How, an organization that provides legal assistance to women who self-manage their abortions. That’s a tiny fraction of the tens of thousands estimated to have purchased pills online in that time.
For some activists, the specter of stepped-up prosecutions against women who buy abortion drugs is closer to a political gift than a cudgel. “The more we do this, and the more they go after women, the more we show how great the risks are, and how badly women are being treated,” Gomperts said.
And the prosecutions might only highlight the compelling evidence that increasing legal access to medical abortion — that is, abortion-by-pill rather than surgically — will allow women to have abortions much earlier in pregnancy, which is far more culturally and politically palatable in the United States.
Daniel Grossman, a professor of gynecology and obstetrics at the University of California, San Francisco, studied the effects of a program in Iowa that allowed women to get abortion pills after consulting with a doctor by video conference. The method proved extremely safe.
What’s more, wider access to abortion pills did not increase Iowa’s overall abortion rate — indeed the rate declined, most likely because of a state program that improved access to contraceptives. But the type of abortions shifted: More women had first-trimester abortions, and fewer women had second-trimester abortions. Grossman is working on several other clinical studies focused on the pill, and he says he believes the weight of the evidence will soon become irrefutable.
The pill isn’t hard to get now, and it will only get easier.
“It’s just a matter of time,” Grossman told me.
What the strange war over “David French-ism” says about the right.
In March the religious journal First Things published a short manifesto, signed by a group of notable conservative writers and academics, titled “Against the Dead Consensus.” The consensus that the manifesto came to bury belonged to conservatism as it existed between the time of William F. Buckley Jr. and the rise of Donald Trump: An ideology that packaged limited government, free markets, a hawkish foreign policy and cultural conservatism together, and that assumed that business interests and religious conservatives and ambitious American-empire builders belonged naturally to the same coalition.
This consensus was never as stable as retrospective political storytelling might suggest; even successful Republican politicians inevitably left many of its factions sorely disappointed, while conservative intellectuals and activists feuded viciously with one another and constantly discerned crises and crackups for their movement. But the crisis revealed or created (depending on your perspective) by our own age of populism seems more severe, the stresses on the different factions more serious, and it is just possible that the longstanding conservative fusion might be as dead as the First Things signatories argued.
Among them was Sohrab Ahmari, the op-ed editor at The New York Post, whose public career embodies some of those shifts and stresses: An immigrant whose family fled the Islamic Republic of Iran, he began his career on the right as an ex-Marxist secular neoconservative at The Wall Street Journal editorial page and has since become a traditionally inclined Catholic (a journey detailed in his striking memoir, “From Fire, By Water”) and also more Trump-friendly and populist into the bargain.
In the last week Ahmari has roiled the conservative intellectual world with a critique of something he calls David French-ism, after David French of National Review, another prominent conservative writer. This controversy, like the debate over Tucker Carlson and capitalism earlier this year, has been a full-employment bill for conservative pundits. But it probably seems impossibly opaque from the outside, since superficially Ahmari and French belong to the same faction on the right — both religious conservatives, both strongly anti-abortion, both deeply engaged in battles over religious liberty (where French is a longtime litigator). Indeed it is somewhat opaque even from the inside, prompting conservatives engaging with the dispute to wonder, “What are we debating?”
I’m going to try to answer that question here. We’ll see how it goes.
Basically the best way to understand the Ahmari-French split is in light of the old fusion, the old consensus, that the First Things manifesto attacked. French is a religious conservative who thinks that the pre-Trump conservative vision still makes sense. He thinks that his Christian faith and his pro-life convictions have a natural home in a basically libertarian coalition, one that wants to limit the federal government’s interventions in the marketplace and expects civil society to flourish once state power is removed. He thinks that believers and nonbelievers, secular liberals and conservative Christians, can coexist under a classical-liberal framework in which disputes are settled by persuasion rather than constant legal skirmishing, or else are left unsettled in a healthy pluralism. He is one of the few remaining conservatives willing to argue that the invasion of Iraq was just and necessary. And he opposes, now as well as yesterday, the bargain that the right struck with Donald Trump.
Ahmari, on the other hand, speaks for cultural conservatives who believe that the old conservative fusion mostly failed their part of the movement — winning victories for tax cutters and business interests while marriage rates declined, birthrates plummeted and religious affiliation waned; and appeasing social conservatives with judges who never actually got around to overturning Roe v. Wade. These conservatives believe that the current version of social liberalism has no interest in truces or pluralism and won’t rest till the last evangelical baker is fined into bankruptcy, the last Catholic hospital or adoption agency is closed by an A.C.L.U. lawsuit. They think that business interests have turned into agents of cultural revolution, making them poor allies for the right, and that the free trade and globalization championed by past Republican presidents has played some role in the dissolution of conservatism’s substrates — the family, the neighborhood, the local civitas. And they have warmed, quickly or slowly, to the politics-is-war style of the current president.
But what, specifically, do these conservatives want, besides a sense of thrill-in-combat that French’s irenic style denies them? I don’t think they are completely certain themselves; in a useful contribution to the Ahmari affair, R.R. Reno, the editor of First Things, describes their animating spirit as a feeling that something else is needed in American society besides just classical-liberal, limited-government commitments, without any certainty about what that something ought to be.
Still, you can see three broad demands at work in their arguments. First, they want social conservatives to exercise more explicit power within the conservative coalition.
This may sound like a strange idea, since, after all, it is social conservatism’s growing political weakness, its cultural retreat, that led the religious right to throw in with a cruel sybarite like Trump. But there’s a plausible argument that even with its broader influence reduced, religious conservatism should still wield more power than it does in Republican politics — that it outsources too much policy thinking to other factions, that it goes along with legislation written for business interests so long as the promised judicial appointments are dangled at the end, and that it generally acts like a junior partner even though it delivers far more votes.
Syndicated columnist Mark Shields and New York Times columnist David Brooks join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week’s political news, including NewsHour interviews with 2020 presidential candidates Eric Swalwell and Kirsten Gillibrand, the escalating feud between President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and whether ongoing congressional investigations are leading to impeachment.