By Andrew Bair
Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a radical pro-abortion bill (S.1696) sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Ct.) and promoted by major pro-abortion advocacy groups.
If enacted, the law would nullify virtually all limits on abortion nationwide, including protective measures that enjoy broad public support, including informed consent laws, waiting periods and laws that protect pain-capable unborn children from excruciating abortions late in pregnancy.
The bill, which has been characterized as the “Abortion Without Limits Until Birth” Act, currently has 35 co-sponsors, all Democrats.
With nearly two thirds of Senate Democrats on board with Blumenthal’s plan to expand abortion, the question must be asked: Where do the Democratic candidates running for Senate this fall stand on this legislation?
In the competitive race for Senate in Alaska, incumbent Sen. Mark Begich’s position is clear. He supports tearing down virtually all limits on abortion nationwide as indicated by his signing on as a cosponsor.
Congressman Bruce Braley, who is running for the open Senate seat in Iowa, is a cosponsor of the House version of the bill.
In Kentucky, Democratic nominee Alison Lundergan Grimes told the Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman in 2013 that she was “pro-choice down the line on abortion.”
EMILY’s List, a pro-abortion PAC that backs only female Democratic candidates who embrace abortion-on-demand, is one of Grimes’ biggest financiers, according to the Washington Post.
EMILY’s List is also investing heavily in Michelle Nunn’s candidacy in Georgia. Nunn ran sponsored Facebook posts touting the endorsement from the pro-abortion PAC.
However, as noted in the Wall Street Journal, Democrats running in traditionally red states, like Georgia, have deliberately downplayed their positions on abortion.
Nunn’s campaign has only offered the tired platitude that she would like to see abortion “safe, legal and rare.” Voters in Georgia deserve to know where she stands on this bill.
Like Nunn, Sen. Kay Hagan in North Carolina is abiding by a similar playbook on abortion. She has not commented on Blumenthal’s bill and has generally dodged the abortion issue.
However, it’s not difficult to draw conclusions based on her record. Hagan, another EMILY’s List beneficiary, has a 0% rating from the National Right to Life Committee, indicating solidly pro-abortion voting record. Most recently, Hagan joined Planned Parenthood in advocating for a bill taking aim at pro-life conscience protections.
Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, another Southern Democrat facing a tough reelection in 2014, has come under fire for saying one thing on abortion and doing another. Pryor’s opponent, pro-life Republican Tom Cotton, has put the issue front and center in the campaign.
Cotton spokesman David Ray said, “Senator Pryor says one thing in Arkansas, and votes the opposite way in Washington. He says he’s pro-choice, then he says he’s pro-life. He says he’s against late-term abortion, but he won’t do anything about it. He says he’s against taxpayer funding of abortion, but he’s voted for it repeatedly. Senator Pryor simply can’t be trusted on this issue.”
Thus far, Sen. Mary Landrieu in Louisiana has avoided discussion of Blumenthal’s “Abortion Without Limits Until Birth” bill. But she has been in the hot seat after indicating she would not support legislation to protect unborn children who are capable of experiencing pain.
Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy, who is running to challenge Landrieu, said she is “clearly pro-abortion rights.” It’s time for Landrieu to inform voters how she would vote on Blumenthal’s bill if brought to a full Senate vote.
In Colorado, Sen. Mark Udall, who is engaged in a tough race against pro-life challenger Rep. Cory Gardner, has not signed on as cosponsor of Blumenthal’s legislation. Udall has repeatedly hit his opponent on abortion in the campaign, attempting to characterize him as extreme on the issue. Voters should demand to know where Udall stands on his colleague’s extreme bill to invalidate longstanding protective measures for unborn children and their mothers.
Sen. Blumenthal told Roll Call in a November interview, “As the election approaches, I think the voters are going to want to know where legislators stand on these issues.”
In her testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the bill, National Right to Life President Carol Tobias urged the Senate’s Democratic leadership to agree to a proposal by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) that the Senate hold two votes, one on Blumenthal’s S.1696 and one on Graham’s S.1670, the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
“We challenge you, and the leadership of the majority party, to allow the American people to see where every senator stands on both of these major abortion-related bills. Let the American people see which bill reflects the values of each member of the United States Senate—life or death for unborn children?,” said Tobias.
As Americans in key states prepare to elect lawmakers to be their voice in Washington, it’s vital that candidates engage in an honest discussion of where they stand on important issues. No candidate running for Senate should be given a free pass to dodge answering where they stand on Blumenthal’s “Abortion Without Limits Until Birth” bill and Graham’s Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.