Carson: 'Abortion pill' should be available in cases of rape or incest

Women who get pregnant from rape or incest should be able to go to the emergency room for an "abortion pill," Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson said Thursday.

Speaking on Fox News Channel’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” the anchor asked Carson if he believes women should be able to get abortions in cases of rape or incest.

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“I would hope that they would very quickly avail themselves of the emergency room, and in the emergency room, they have the ability to administer RU-486 and other possibilities before you have a developing fetus,” Carson said, more than five minutes into the interview.

RU-486 has been dubbed a “chemical abortion pill” by some anti-abortion groups. The National Right to Life website describes it as a pill used at five to seven weeks of pregnancy “that kills an unborn baby whose heart has already begun to beat.”

The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List is also opposed to it.

“RU-486 is an abortifacient,” a representative for the group said. “It’s only prescribed use is a chemical abortion. Susan B. Anthony List is solidly opposed to the use of  RU-486.”

Carson’s response provoked Cavuto to ask him whether he believes life begins at conception.

“Certainly once the heart starts beating, certainly at that point,” Carson responded.

An email to the Carson campaign for clarification has not been returned.

discussing the price of fetal tissue for medical researchA Planned Parenthood spokesperson posited that Carson had mixed up emergency contraception, like the morning-after pill, with the abortion pill.

“Emergency contraception is a safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy and must be taken within 5 days of unprotected intercourse,” the spokesperson said. “It's birth control, not an abortion, so it cannot interfere with an existing pregnancy.”

“He seems to be mixing up emergency contraception (also known as the morning-after pill), with the abortion pill.”

Carson is a retired neurosurgeon. His views on abortion grabbed headlines on Thursday after a former colleague wrote a blog post claiming that in 1992 he studied parts of a fetal brain produced from an abortion.

Carson has been critical of Planned Parenthood after a string of undercover videos showed officials discussing the price of fetal tissue for medical research.

On Thursday, Carson defended his past study of the fetal tissue, arguing that “you have to look at intent.”

"To willfully ignore evidence that you have for some ideological reason is wrong,” Carson told The Washington Post. “If you’re killing babies and taking the tissue, that’s a very different thing than taking a dead specimen and keeping a record of it."

He also argued that the study of human tissue has led to longer lifespans.

“It’s one of the reasons why at the turn of the last century, the average age of death was 47,” Carson said. “Now, the average age of death is 80. Using the information that you have is a smart thing, not a dumb thing." 

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