Following remarks that angered many pro-lifers regarding the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting and the Terri Schiavo dehydration case, Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson sought to reassure pro-lifers that he stood with them in an interview with Bloomberg Politics.
“There should be no question” on his opposition to abortion, Carson said. “My position is that abortion should not be done. I believe that it’s murder and I don’t think that’s hateful speech. That’s just telling the truth. Including in cases of rape and incest.”
The retired neurosurgeon further argued that his medical background gives him unique standing on life issues among the 2016 field:
Of all the people running, I think I can safely say I’m the only one who has ever saved anybody’s life. I’m the only one who has ever operated on premature babies all night long to save them—the only one who’s operated on babies inside of the womb, the only one who’s come up with new techniques and procedures to save lives, over which I got a lot of controversy early on, but now many of those things have become standard procedure that continue to save lives all over the world.
In November, Carson surprised pro-lifers by telling reporters he did not believe the 2005 dispute between the husband and parents of Schiavo, a disabled Florida woman, over whether to remove her feeding tube, “needed to get to that level” of Congressional intervention. Following pushback from pro-life activists including Schaivo’s brother, Bobby Schindler, Carson said he meant the media, not pro-lifers, blew it out of proportion.
Near the end of the month, he stirred controversy again when he responded to charges that heated anti-abortion rhetoric provoked the CO killing spree by agreeing “there is a lot of extremism from all areas” and declaring that “both sides should tone down their rhetoric and engage in civil discussion.
Carson followed up on the latter incident to Bloomberg:
Of course the rhetoric needs to be toned down but some of my opponents would say, ‘See, he’s blaming the right.’ And that’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m saying the only way we can make progress in a pluralistic society is if we’re able to sit down and talk to each other. And let’s not get into all of the inflammatory comments.