On his first day as a declared 2016 Republican presidential candidate, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, an ophthalmologist, declined to say in an interview which exceptions he would support, if any, should abortions be banned.
The Associated Press reported:
"The thing is about abortion — and about a lot of things — is that I think people get tied up in all these details of, sort of, you're this or this or that, or you're hard and fast (on) one thing or the other," Paul said.
In the past, Paul has supported legislation that would ban abortion with exceptions, while at other times, he's backed bills seeking a broader bar on abortion.
Later in the day, when asked after a campaign stop in Milford about the interview, which the Democratic National Committee had sent reporters, Paul said, "Why don't we ask the DNC: Is it OK to kill a 7-pound baby in the uterus?"
"You go back and go ask (DNC head) Debbie Wasserman Schultz if she's OK with killing a 7-pound baby that's just not born yet," Paul said. "Ask her when life begins, and ask Debbie when she's willing to protect life. When you get an answer from Debbie, come back to me."
That prompted Wasserman Schultz, a Weston congresswoman, to issue this statement through the DNC:
"Here's an answer. I support letting women and their doctors make this decision without government getting involved. Period. End of story. Now your turn, Senator Paul. We know you want to allow government officials like yourself to make this decision for women — but do you stand by your opposition to any exceptions, even when it comes to rape, incest, or life of the mother? Or do we just have different definitions of 'personal liberty'? And I'd appreciate it if you could respond without 'shushing' me."
(The "shushing" referred to a February interview Paul gave a CNBC reporter.)
Wasserman Schultz's statement essentially calling on no abortion restrictions prompted this response from Republican National Committee Press Secretary Allison Moore:
"Today, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz made clear her extreme position on the issue of life. It's disturbing to know that the Chairwoman of the DNC supports zero protections for the life of an unborn child, not even in the final days before birth. We should be willing to protect the innocent. Do her fellow Democrats share their party chair's position, which is out-of-step with the majority of American women?"