Indiana Daily Student

OPINION: Indiana Attorney General Rokita talks protecting individual liberties yet is against abortion

<p>Then-U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita speaks with the press after hearing former Vice President Mike Pence speak Sept. 22, 2017, at the Wylam Center of Flagship East in Anderson, Indiana.</p>

Then-U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita speaks with the press after hearing former Vice President Mike Pence speak Sept. 22, 2017, at the Wylam Center of Flagship East in Anderson, Indiana.

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita spoke to tens of people Friday at the Indiana Memorial Union. The crowd mainly consisted of elderly people and young protesters from the College Democrats at IU.

One protester held a sign inside Whittenberger Auditorium that read, “God hates fascists!” I enjoyed this sign, but it would seem to me that fascism is a much too new ideology for someone like the attorney general, a man who seems to have time traveled to IU tonight from the 18th century.

Rokita spoke for about an hour before taking questions. His speech, which was sponsored by the ISI Buckley Society at Indiana University, was titled “Protecting Individual Liberty with Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita,” and he used his time to worship the Founding Fathers, denounce socialism and so-called “transgender extremism,” and brag about how successful he’s been at hacking away at the rights of women and people who can get pregnant.

During the Q&A portion of the night, Rokita tried to explain the contradictory elephant in the room: how can one reconcile upholding individual liberties while at the same time being in favor of a no-exceptions abortion policy?

His argument was the issue of abortion involves two individuals, the pregnant person, and the fetus. An abortion would apparently infringe upon the individual rights of the fetus. Of course, equating a pregnant person to a fetus is nonsense.

[Related: Abortion ban poses complex questions for IU’s future OB/GYNs]

But we must remember who we’re dealing with here. It mustn’t be forgotten that Rokita, upon learning a 10-year-old girl received an abortion in Indiana, immediately responded by investigating the doctor who performed the procedure, wrongfully accusing the doctor of being a criminal.

Why are we even entertaining the notion of a fetus’ “individual rights” when the lives of walking, talking children are at stake? Rokita noted more than once that he simply enforces the law and does not make it. We are very fortunate that he does not make our laws, and we will be even more so the day he no longer enforces the law – the sooner the better.

But one mustn’t confuse Rokita’s anti-abortion positions with a hatred for women, oh no. On the contrary! When discussing those of us with the decency to defend the rights of transgender people, including in the realm of sports, of all things, Rokita said, “I didn’t realize we had so many women-haters in our society.”

According to Rokita, to assert that trans women should be able to compete in women’s sports is tantamount to hating women. I don’t believe Rokita cares about women’s sports at all. I think it much more probable that Rokita simply hates trans people.

Rokita said by talking about the so-called “transgender extremism” in America, he was running “the risk of getting cancelled by the woke left.” Well, consider yourself canceled Mr. Rokita.

[Related: Former provost files complaint with Ind. disciplinary commission against Attorney General]

Despite the name of the presentation, Rokita spent little time actually talking about individual liberties. When he wasn’t praising America’s Founding Fathers, he spent a great deal of time talking about the apparent evils of socialism.

The red baiting began early on, with Rokita praising his efforts, along with the state of West Virginia and others, in curbing the powers of the apparently socialist Environmental Protection Agency earlier this summer. I wasn’t aware trying to protect the environment was a distinctly socialist principle, but if so, the socialist movement certainly has many more adherents than I thought. Good news!

He went on to talk about how every American has a responsibility to defend the American republic. He contrasted this American responsibility with the supposed lack of responsibility of those citizens living in socialist countries. “To be a socialist, you have no responsibility,” Rokita said. This is because the government in socialist countries apparently does everything for everyone.

This is a misrepresentation, of course. Marx and Engels said one of the key tenets of socialist society was the “equal liability of all to work.”  

I could go on. When the ISI Buckley Society invited Ann Coulter to campus last semester, she, like Rokita, lied a lot about trans people and socialism and the myth of American exceptionalism. But credit to her – at least people showed up when she came to campus. The bright side of the attorney general’s speech is that very few people actually came to listen.

Jared Quigg (he/him) is a junior studying journalism and political science.

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