Bill Schafer is running for Congress in Iowa’s Third District.
When do you believe life begins: I believe that life begins at conception, but I also recognize that, from a national point of view, you have to have something more definitive. So, I think the heartbeat status is probably the right point to try to gain agreement across the country.
Describe your position on the abortion issue: Two pieces — whether or not it’s a federal issue. I say that because much of my platform is based on the idea that we too often look to the federal government for solutions when the Constitution in my mind clearly states what the federal responsibilities are. Then, looking at the 10th Amendment and other portions of our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, the responsibilities of a federal republic are intended to be less directed to the federal government and pushed to the states or to the people to solve. That being said, as we acknowledge in our Declaration, life is one of the unalienable rights given to us by the Creator and the Constitution is the document that codifies and then provides the legal perspective of protecting those rights. I do believe that this is a federal level issue. That being said, I am a pro-life candidate and do believe that we need to look at it at the federal level across the country.
Why are you pro-life: If you believe that we have been given life by our Creator, and that we have the right to life, and you believe that life begins at conception, even if you compromise to the heartbeat, then clearly the unborn child deserves the same protection as a person who has been birthed.
What protections should be given to defend an unborn baby’s constitutional rights: So, look, here’s the way I see it. The unborn baby should have the same right to life that we as birthed human beings have. Their protection should be the exact same as yours or mine. That being said, I do have concerns for the mental and physical health of victims of assault. I think that we have to have a discussion and the ability to balance the life of this baby or, yeah, the life of the baby and the life of the mother who has gone through a trauma. So, for any reason that the mother’s life is in danger, and now you have a conflict between the unborn child and the life of the mother, we have to have a standard in the country that allows a competent decision to be made because a conflict of choice has been presented to us. So, again, I have the overall idea that the health of the mother is of concern and add to that the trauma victim who now has both mental and physical trauma that they’ve gone through that creates that conflict and that decision. That’s the only place where I see any opportunity to discuss what path we’re going to take to make sure that the victim of trauma or an otherwise healthy woman, who now has been told by the medical community that her life is at risk due to the pregnancy.
How have you lived out and expressed your pro-life position in the past: Well, having not been a politician, my experience with that has primarily only been within the family. You know, fortunately I haven’t been put in the dilemma of having to help somebody in the family make the decision between life and death, but I have certainly counseled and expressed my views inside of the family. I raised two daughters. Neither of them have been in that situation, but I have raised two daughters under those beliefs. And, then a little bit of counseling with young soldiers and their relationships, but from an outspoken, verbal point of view, I haven’t been in the position being a military officer to do that. So, it has been recently where I’m running for office and I get asked this question. I try to articulate as clearly as I can I am absolutely pro-life, but I don’t believe it is appropriate for us to just dismiss those cases where trauma is involved or where the health of the mother is involved by saying unequivocally they do not have a say.
Should the courts have the final say on abortion: If you actually follow our Declaration, and more importantly our Constitution, the courts don’t have the final say. They don’t have the power to say. Our Congress writes the law, our President signs and executes the law. All the courts are supposed to do when they’re asked is make a determination about whether or not that particular law is or is not constitutional.
Do you support any exceptions that allow for abortions: I find it difficult to articulate that because when I say it, folks assume that I mean I’m making an exception for abortion. I think that’s a fair assumption, but what we have to do as a country and what I would have to do as your Congressman is determine how to articulate and therefore write a bill that emphatically is pro-life but articulates the concern for the health of a trauma victim. A trauma victim has both mental and physical health concerns. A trauma victim could be a very young girl who could be at risk physically because of a pregnancy and is definitely at risk mentally, as would anybody be who suffered a trauma. But, in those cases, the standard that we need to write needs to be very clear. And still, it has to be a decision that is made in those first couple weeks between life at conception and a heartbeat. And, after that, the only possible exception would be a clear statement by a medical doctor that this woman is at risk of dying if she carries the pregnancy through to term.