Health and Human Services Secretary Richard S. Schweiker yesterday enunciated the administration's support for Senate vote last week to stop federal funding of abortion after rape or incest, saying in a heated exchange that he could not understand why people "can get all wrought up about tadpoles and not unborn kids."
Schweiker, asked on "Meet the Press" (NBC, WRC) if there was not a contradiction between the administration's promise to "get the government off the back of the people" and its support for banning abortions, replied that he saw as the real contradiction proposals to save baby seals, whales and snail darters "but we won't save the unborn child."
Columnist Carl Rowan of the Chicago Sun-Times retorted, "I'm talking about women, not tadpoles." Schweiker replied, "So am I, and I'm talking about unborn babies and the right to kill them."
Schweiker, in a contradictory statement of his own, also said it would still be possible for women who have been raped to take a "morning-after pill" or have a "D and C" (dialation and curetagge, or scraping of the womb lining), but that the administration opposed abortion because it believed the fetus had a right to live "once it was on the way."