Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Speaking Anti-Abortion

Ask Republicans an abortion question. Unsurprisingly, you will receive various versions of “I support life.” Concerning Kentucky, Governor Fletcher treasures informed consent. He is cuddling the pro-life movement. Anne Northup said life four times. She is kissing the pro-life movement. Billy Harper opposes abortion, except concerning rape or incest. He is honest.

From Kentucky Post:

For some candidates in the governor's race, the topic of abortion is more complicated than simply a "yes" or "no." While some of the 10 candidates are firmly planted, others find themselves straddling the issue between what they personally feel and how they think government should handle the touchy subject. The Associated Press asked each of the 10 candidates - three Republicans and seven Democrats - their positions on abortion and whether they favored imposing restrictions on the procedure. The responses were generally split along party lines.

The three Republicans were, for the most part, supportive of abortion limits. Meanwhile, most Democrats felt personally against the procedure, but not in favor of banning it. Gov. Ernie Fletcher, who is seeking a second term, said his "convictions are pro-life." An ordained Baptist preacher, the Republican governor said he's worked during his first four years to reduce abortions in Kentucky. "I have worked to create a culture of life in Frankfort, by working to protect all children, both born and unborn," Fletcher, who is also a physician, said in response to the AP questionnaire.

Fletcher is facing challenges from two of his past political comrades, former U.S. Rep. Anne Northup and Paducah businessman Billy Harper. Seven Democrats, meanwhile, are seeking the nomination in the May 22 primary. They are: former Lt. Govs. Steve Beshear and Steve Henry, demolition contractor Otis Hensley Jr., Lexington attorney Gatewood Galbraith, Louisville businessman Bruce Lunsford, state Treasurer Jonathan Miller and House Speaker Jody Richards.

On the GOP side, Fletcher and Northup both used the term "pro-life" to describe themselves and have endorsements from the Kentucky Right to Life Association. Fletcher said he supports "informed consent" laws that would require women seeking an abortion to have a face-to-face meeting beforehand.

Northup held a similar view. "The value of all lives are precious and that includes the lives of the unborn," Northup said. "I am pro-life, and I support any measure that preserves the sanctity of life."

Harper said he opposed abortion, except in rape or incest cases, or when an expecting mother's life is at risk. House Speaker Jody Richards, a Democrat to whom the Right to Life Association gave high marks, shared the same opinion as Harper. Lunsford, however, said he supports "a woman's right to choose." "I believe it is a personal, private matter between a woman, her family, her doctor and her beliefs," Lunsford said.

Not all Democrats, however, were as clear in their responses. Beshear said the state can help reduce the number of abortions through education, health care and with new jobs. "Studies show that as the financial status of women improve, the number of abortions decrease," he said.

Henry, who is also a physician, said he did not personally support abortion and would never perform one. "I do not believe governors have the right to place their personal beliefs or make decisions on this issue for the people of Kentucky," Henry said.

Miller also said government can play a role in decreasing the number of abortions by reducing unwanted teen pregnancies. This could be done through teaching sexual abstinence, education, reducing poverty and promoting adoption, he said. "We must partner as government, parents, concerned citizens, clergy, as a community to reduce the number of abortions in Kentucky and the country," Miller said.

Women are allowed to have an abortion, but should be informed about the consequences, Galbraith said. "I am against abortion. Who isn't?" Galbraith said. "I believe women seeking abortions should be fully informed about its medical consequences and educated about what they are really doing which is ending a baby's life."

Hensley said in an interview that he hates abortion, but would not favor banning the procedure. Nevertheless, Hensley said he would create a panel consisting of people on different sides of the issue to address abortion. "The abortion issue works to divide us, both within our state and nationally," Hensley said. "We must begin to take steps to resolve this issue."

Martin Cothran, a spokesman for the Lexington-based Family Foundation, said that a candidate's view on the issue is important in Kentucky. "A lot of people consider a person's view on abortion to be what you would call a disqualifying issue," Cothran said. "People feel pretty strongly about it, and if they take a position on it that they don't agree with, they simply look around to see who else there is."

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