UPDATE 10-25-15: Since this article was first published, Dr. Ben Carson has apparently progressed in his rhetoric. Although still open to abortion in case of health of the mother issues, he has walked back on his statements accepting abortion for instances of rape and incest. Let's pray this is sincere progress and not pandering.
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With the crowded Republican field, one would assume that someone will surely stand out as the pro-life candidate. After all, most if not all of them have spoken out against abortion. Yet, what appears to be pro-life on the surface doesn't necessarily make the cut once the details come to light.
Dr. Ben Carson: The Good
One example of such a candidate is Dr. Ben Carson. I've had the deepest respect for Dr. Carson for many years. His life story, in movie form, was outstanding. Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story showed him to be a hardworking, virtuous man who was a pioneer in neurosurgery after overcoming enormous obstacles.
Later, I began to read his syndicated columns and was usually impressed by his ability to clearly express his morally sound principles. This soft-spoken man was both a genius and a spokesman of moral convictions.
Enter the 2016 Republican campaign. I was overjoyed to see Dr. Carson listed as a candidate. After all, what better protector of human dignity could there be - if not for the presidency, then certainly as vice-president. His respect for life and lack of racial prejudices made him an admirable prospect. Other views he holds, such as the support of marriage, as defined by God, also make him appealing to Christians.
When asked by an NPR reporter why he doesn't talk about race that often, Dr. Carson responded, "Because I'm a neurosurgeon. I operate on the thing that makes them who they are - the skin doesn't make them who they are, the hair doesn't make them who they are. And it's time that we move beyond that because our strength lies in unity. We're not the divided States of America, we're the United States of America."
Dr. Ben Carson: The Bad
Unfortunately, there have been some troubling disclosures since the time that I was fully enamored with Dr. Carson. The good thing for those of us who thoroughly research our candidates before giving them support, can be a really bad thing for them. As heartened as I was by his performance in the first Republican debate, these weren't his first words on some of the major topics.
The first glimmer of doubt came about when a research group found that Dr. Carson's name had appeared on a medical research paper that used fetal tissue from aborted babies. There was a prompt reply on Dr. Carson's Facebook page that quelled some of my unease:
I wanted to use our time tonight to directly deal with an attack launched on me today by the left and the media. A couple questions came in on this subject, so I want to address it head on.
Today I was accused by the press as having done research on fetal tissue. It simply is not true. The study they distributed by an anonymous source was done in 1992. The study was about tumors. I won’t bore you with the science. There were four doctors' names on the study. One was mine. I spent my life studying brain tumors and removing them. My only involvement in this study was supplying tumors that I had removed from my patients. Those tissue samples were compared to other tissue samples under a microscope. Pathologists do this work to gain clues about tumors.
I, nor any of the doctors involved with this study, had anything to do with abortion or what Planned Parenthood has been doing. Research hospitals across the country have microscope slides of all kinds of tissue to compare and contrast. The fetal tissue that was viewed in this study by others was not collected for this study.
I am sickened by the attack that I, after having spent my entire life caring for children, had something to do with aborting a child and harvesting organs. My medical specialty is the human brain and even I am amazed at what it is capable of doing. Please know these attacks are pathetic attempts to blunt our progress.
This explanation eased my troubled mind - until the next shoe fell. There's nothing like your own words to convict you.
In his defense of the use of aborted fetal tissue, Dr. Carson had this to say:
"If it were the only way to do something and there was no other way, there might be an argument. But under these circumstances, there isn't a legitimate argument."
Dr. Carson also shows a lack of regard for parental rights. His support of mandatory vaccines demonstrates this fact. The fact that many standard vaccines contain aborted baby cell lines, making them morally repugnant, also doesn’t appear to concern him. Below you have the opportunity to hear him discuss his views, beginning at around the 1:57 mark.
Dr. Ben Carson: The Ugly
In the video below, Dr. Carson shares his support for the abortion pill, RU486, as well as admitting rape and incest exceptions to his purported pro-life position. He further goes on to say something that sounds as if he's okay with killing an unborn child 'as long as their heart isn't beating' - which would make that child between 18 and 20 days old.
As I lay out my priorities, when it comes to putting support behind a candidate for any political office, abortion and aborted fetal tissue use rises to the top. Other major issues would certainly include parental rights - especially at a time when they are being threatened from many directions. The fact that Dr. Carson agrees with other important, albeit lesser moral issues, falls to the wayside in light of these revelations. My conscience simply doesn't allow such tradeoff.