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Gephardt's Abortion Flip-Flop Still a Turnoff to Pro-Lifers

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    Gephardt s Abortion Flip-Flop Still a Turnoff to Pro-Lifers http://www.lifenews.com/nat103.html by Maria Gallagher LifeNews.com Staff Writer September 5, 2003
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 6, 2003
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      Gephardt's Abortion Flip-Flop Still a Turnoff to Pro-Lifers
      http://www.lifenews.com/nat103.html

      by Maria Gallagher
      LifeNews.com Staff Writer
      September 5, 2003

      Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- For decades, Dick Gephardt's
      name has been synonymous with Democratic Party politics. Having
      served as a leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, Gephardt
      is considered to be one of the party's strongest voices.

      But Gephardt, who often projects a Midwestern, family-oriented
      image, abandoned his pro-life stand years ago -- a change of
      heart which seemed to occur in connection with his first bid for
      the White House.

      "Richard Gephardt told the pro-abortion group formerly known as
      NARAL that his Baptist upbringing taught him abortion was wrong
      but, over time, friends and colleagues were able to convince him
      otherwise," said Carol Tobias, political director of National
      Right to Life.

      Gephardt's flip-flop on abortion is the stuff of legends in
      pro-life circles.

      From 1976 to 1980, during his first term in Congress, Gephardt
      voted pro-life 96 percent of the time, indicating that he was
      solidly pro-life. From 1983 to 1988, when he launched his first
      Presidential campaign, his pro-life record dropped to 64 percent.
      While he was still voting pro-life a majority of the time, it was
      clear that his support for protection of the unborn was eroding.

      By 1989, Gephardt had done a reversal, voting pro-life only
      eleven percent of the time, a level he continues to hover around.

      "Now he says that he would appoint Supreme Court justices who
      would preserve Roe v. Wade," Tobias tells LifeNews.com. "Gephardt
      knows that abortion kills an unborn child but switched position
      for political expediency. I really don't know how he can sleep at
      night."

      As Gephardt pursues another run for the White House, it is clear
      where his allegiance lies.

      On the CBS news program "Face the Nation," when asked whether he
      would ever appoint a U.S. Supreme Court nominee who would
      overturn Roe v. Wade, Gephardt said, "I don't think I would,
      because I'd put on people who had proper respect for the
      precedents of the court, and the court has said that choice is
      the law of the land."

      While Gephardt also said he would sign a ban on partial-birth
      abortions, he insisted he would do so only if the ban included a
      "health exception" for the mother. Pro-life groups believe that
      kind of language would render the ban useless, since such
      exceptions could be interpreted broadly by judges.

      Gephardt has also been openly courting pro-abortion political
      factions, sometimes with mixed results.

      At the NARAL Pro Choice America dinner in January, the Missouri
      Congressman was initially booed when he admitted to having
      sponsored a move to ban abortion when he first arrived in
      Congress. He later explained how, in the intervening years, he
      had changed his mind on the issue -- a statement which seemed to
      appease the crowd.

      Gephardt dates his abortion policy switch to 1986--two years
      before his initial Presidential run. Gephardt told NARAL
      officials that some women who had had abortions had convinced him
      that it was a choice for them to make with God.

      "There is nothing moral in strong-arming a personal belief, and
      there is nothing moral to a presidency that imposes personal
      morality through acts of government power," Gephardt said.

      Gephardt has also said that he would support a law guaranteeing
      abortion if Roe v. Wade were overturned. In addition, he has
      backed procedural efforts in Congress to undermine pro-life
      legislation.

      Democrats for Life of America has been sharply critical of
      Gephardts abortion stand.

      The national pro-life group notes that Gephardt is running under
      the banner of "new ideas from common ideals," yet his current
      stand on abortion reflects neither of those concepts. In fact,
      Democrats for Life points out Gephardt has gone so far as to say
      that abortion is "the foothold" that will allow Democrats "to
      reclaim the high ground on the issues of vital importance to the
      American people."

      Kristen Day, the Executive Director of Democrats for Life,
      indicated that Gephardts switch on abortion is not surprising,
      given the current political climate.

      "The abortion lobby is very strong, they have a lot of money, and
      they are controlling the Democratic Party right now," Day said.
      "A lot of the candidates get a lot of pressure  to switch their
      position."

      While Gephardt may be better-known than many of his Democratic
      Presidential rivals, he seems to be having difficulty gaining
      support among would-be
      primary voters.

      Recent polls have not been particularly encouraging, and he is
      not winning the publicity war.

      For instance, a recent Zogby poll in New Hampshire showed that
      Gephardt had only six percent of the vote. And it was not
      Gephardts face on the covers of recent Time and Newsweek
      magazines, but Howard Dean's. While Gephardt has been quite
      vocal, particularly in his criticism of the Bush Administration,
      his message is apparently failing to resonate with the news media
      and with voters.

      Gephardt's campaign did not respond to LifeNews.com's request for
      comment.


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