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Jason Rantz shocked by this answer on abortion

KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz had to stop a recent interview with the president of the National Organization for Women after hearing what she said about abortion.

Terry O’Neill initially said this in response to a hypothetical situation: if science determined that life began at conception, would O’Neill still support abortion rights?

I don’t care. Of course, I would support abortion. I fell in love with my four-cell stage (child) and that wasn’t even pregnancy. That was before pregnancy began. And I that was potential life … I understand the concept of potential life. I’m in favor of it. What I’m not in favor of is women dying because adequate reproductive healthcare is withheld from them on religious grounds. That is not pro-life.

“Clear something up for me, because if I hear your answer correctly, it seems very extreme,” Rantz said. “Take religion out of it, and we have shown through science that life begins the moment that a fetus is created. This is not the potential for life — that is life. You are saying that you do support abortion. Isn’t that the textbook definition of murder in that case?”

“Take religion out of it and we are not even having this conversation,” O’Neill said, noting that religious motivations are what largely contribute to the abortion debate.

But Rantz wasn’t satisfied with that answer.

“The vast majority of religious organizations support women’s ability to make their own healthcare decisions for themselves and their families,” O’Neill said. “The fundamentalist religious position is looking for advocacy points where they can say it’s a life. I don’t know when death occurs. There’s a lot of really smart people trying to figure that out. On the beginning of life, I don’t know when life begins.”

“What I do know is that women’s lives are precious,” she said. “And girls lives are precious. If we don’t support girls’ and women’s access to basic reproductive healthcare, we are harming them and shame on us.”

But that wasn’t the only issue surrounding abortion and women’s healthcare rights that Rantz got O’Neill to address.

Would the women’s healthcare debate be the same if abortion was off the table?

I think what you are talking about is can’t we just pull one little piece of women’s healthcare.

We are really talking about women’s access to reproductive healthcare. I know a lot of people who I admire, I am really fond of, that are very conservative who really want to believe you can pluck abortion out of the spectrum of women’s reproductive healthcare. Show me a law, show me a single policy that successfully does that. It doesn’t exist. I will give you my next paycheck if you can show me a bill that tries to only restrict abortion and doesn’t impact other aspects of women’s health.

A civil conversation

Rantz noted that O’Neill singled out Republicans and Republican policies on the women’s healthcare issue.

“On this particular issue, it doesn’t impact me at all,” Rantz said. “It will never impact me at all. This has nothing to do with me. And yet I understand the perspective that I can err on the side of life. I have no clue, just like you have no clue, whether it is a life.”

“Wouldn’t we all be better served if we could have a civil conversation rather than say, ‘Republicans hate women, they want to control their bodies,’” he said. “It could be more complex than that.”

I think it’s Republican policies that are viciously anti-women. I want to be clear about that. But the policies are clearly viciously opposed to women having access to healthcare — basic reproductive healthcare. When you shut down clinics, which is what Republican controlled, not Democratic-controlled, state legislatures are trying to do, you cut off women’s access to abortion care, to birth control, to STI testing, HIV testing and treatment, breast exams, and to cervical cancer treatments.

Now, my name is O’Neill. I do know that a vasectomy, a reproductive health issue for men, is a sin. Just as much as abortion and birth control are. But you don’t see Catholic bishops going up and down the halls of congress trying to criminalize, stigmatize, regulate and put restrictions on vasectomies the way they demand that sort of thing for women. So they are discriminating against women and our access to reproductive healthcare.

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