Scott Walker Continues to Believe in a Medical Fantasyland on Abortion

It has become a common trope among progressives to state that conservatives simply don’t inhabit the same reality the rest of us do. It sounds like an exaggeration. But it isn’t.

Consider Scott Walker, who bizarrely continues to insist that there’s some magical alternative solution to abortion in the rare cases where pregnancy threatens the life of the mother:

Gov. Scott Walker says choosing between the life of a pregnant woman and her fetus is a “false choice,” adding that he believes better options are always available. Walker’s statements in a television interview after Thursday’s Republican presidential debate underscore how he has become increasingly vocal about his views against abortion now that he’s running for president. Abortion rights activists say that in some cases, the only option to protect a woman’s life is to end her pregnancy.

“It’s a false choice. There is always a better option out there,” Walker told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Thursday night. “I’ve said for years, medically there’s always a better choice than choosing between the life of an unborn baby and the life of the mother,” he added. “Medically that’s just a nonissue.”

First of all, that’s terrible journalism. To follow Scott Walker’s patently false statement with “abortion rights activists say” otherwise, as if it were some hypothetical he-said-she-said argument, isn’t objective journalism. It’s misleading stenography disguising itself as journalism. Real journalism doesn’t repeat assertions: it tries to discover the truth and expose who is lying.

In this case, all the journalist need have done is a simple Google search for ectopic pregnancy:

In a normal pregnancy, your ovary releases an egg into your fallopian tube. If the egg meets with a sperm, the fertilized egg moves into your uterus to attach to its lining and continues to grow for the next 9 months.

But in up to 1 of every 50 pregnancies, the fertilized egg stays in your fallopian tube. In that case, it’s called an ectopic pregnancy or a tubal pregnancy. In rare cases, the fertilized egg attaches to one of your ovaries, another organ in your abdomen, the cornua (or horn) of the uterus or even the cervix. In any case, instead of celebrating your pregnancy, you find your life is in danger. Ectopic pregnancies require emergency treatment.

Most often, ectopic pregnancy happens within the first few weeks of pregnancy. You might not even know you’re pregnant yet, so it can be a big shock. Doctors usually discover it by the 8th week of pregnancy.

Ectopic pregnancies can be scary and sad. The baby probably can’t survive — though in extremely rare cases he or she might. (This is not possible in a tubal pregnancy, cornual or cervical ) So it’s a loss that may take some time to get over. It may comfort you to know that if you have an ectopic pregnancy, you’ll likely be able to have a healthy pregnancy in the future.

Ectopic pregnancy isn’t the only condition in which an abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother, but it’s one of the most common

Scott Walker is provably wrong. There is no alternative to abortion in these cases to save women’s lives. Walker lives in a magic fantasyland where his policy positions don’t have real consequences and he can have his cake and eat it, too. Just as with supply-side economics and deficit reduction, Scott Walker thinks he can ban all abortions without consequently enacting the state-sanctioned murder of every woman with an extreme ectopic pregnancy.

Ultimately, this is partly why Donald Trump can lead the GOP field: he’s not all that different, really, from the rest of the Republican candidates. They all inhabit racist, misogynist, economic royalist realities of their own making, entirely divorced from the reality in which the rest of us live.

It would be nice if more journalists exposed that fact, rather than simply repeating the fantasies that they assert in their prepared remarks.

David Atkins

David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.