Hard choices require facts

U.S. Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., a candidate for the U.S. Senate, took a cowardly approach in supporting his political views.
The issue of whether the state should require rape victims to deliver the resulting child is horribly complex. It rouses sincere and incompatible views among many Americans. Religious beliefs, views on the appropriate limits of government and gender-equality issues conflict hopelessly because the biology of conception does not lend itself to simplistic solutions.
If it were true that rape victims do not get pregnant, the thorny problem would go away. So Akin — parrotting the statements of a fringe pro-life doctor — relied on false science to buttress his views.
It’s an increasingly common tactic among our elected representatives.
Rather than confront the complex question of what — if anything — we should do to control climate change, they claim it does not exist. Rather than acknowledge the economic evidence that moderate increases in the tax rates of the wealthy do not reverse economic growth, they claim the contrary.
The fact that rape victims do get pregnant does not, by itself, mean that pro-life advocates are wrong. The fact that human activity is contributing to climate change does not, by itself, mean that we should pay for a solution. There are arguments for keeping taxes low on the wealthy that do not require the false premise that doing otherwise would undermine economic growth.
All of these issues are complex. Elected officials need to confront them head on, not change the facts in an effort to dodge the hard choices they demand.


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