As the weekend broke, Democratic candidate for governor DuBose Porter let it be known that he should be considered “pro-life” when it comes to the issue of abortion.
It was not unexpected news, and arose from a discussion of biotech research at the University of Georgia.
But the House minority leader from Dublin is only one half of a political couple on the July 20 primary ballot. There remained the question of how the husband’s point of view would reflect on Carol Porter, a Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor.
On Monday morning, we asked the Carol Porter campaign whether she supported a woman’s right to an abortion.
On Tuesday, a long explanation, penned by the candidate herself, arrived via e-mail. The brief essay said many things, and even came with a footnote. But it did not answer the question.
And in a phone conversation, Carol Porter declared that hers was not just a temporary evasion.
“I’m fed up with these vague – because that’s what they are – labels that derail conversation,” she said.
Georgia has no say-so on the largest issue of whether abortion should remain constitutional, Carol Porter said. And the smaller issues that merely graze the topic should be dealt with on an individual basis.
“I’m sorry, I’m not getting labeled on it. It’s a difficult issue for everybody in this state,” the Democratic candidate said.
Likewise, she declined to say what she thought about embryonic stem cell research – a large issue at UGA.
But here’s what Carol Porter wrote on the topic:
The question politicians really need to be asked is not, “Are you pro-life or pro-choice,” but instead, “will you work to reduce abortions?” My answer is yes, but if you have to give me a label you will have to call me pro-Georgian.
“The reasons women give for having an abortion underscore their understanding of the responsibilities of parenthood and family life. Three-fourths of women cite concern for or responsibility to other individuals; three-fourths say they cannot afford a child; three-fourths say that having a baby would interfere with work, school or the ability to care for dependents; and half say they do not want to be a single parent or are having problems with their husband or partner”, according to L.B. Finer et al.* (from a list of choices)
It is obvious if we want to truly decrease abortions we should work to create more financial stability for women. When you improve the economy, abortion rates will go down.
The real question we as Georgians need to ask is, “Do we want to truly decrease abortions or just turn out the vote on it?” To run under the banner “pro-life” and to legislate in a way that creates the very factors that lead to abortions is baffling.
Because of poor leadership, our state does not have a reliable water source and our major city sits in gridlock. We are dismal in our rankings on educational achievement and have an excessive dropout rate. The thing we are now becoming known for is being number one in the percentage of our population in the correctional system.
Small business in Georgia is struggling and unemployment is high. Law enforcement has been reduced to unsafe levels and our population is in the top ten most unhealthy. Yet the Georgia leadership who allowed these statistics are all “pro-life.” Saying you are “pro-life” and then creating the conditions in which abortions increase is disingenuous.
In Georgia, the label “pro-life” has become among politicians a label used not to decrease abortions, but to increase votes. Take for instance this past session: the elected Republican leadership let a “pro-life” bill, SB 529, pass the Senate but only with a backroom agreement it would not make it to the floor of the House for a vote.
[The reference is to a bill that would have made it illegal for physicians to perform abortions -- if they knew the woman involved had been "coerced" into the procedure.]
Do you think those who passed it out in the Senate, when campaigning this fall, will remember to mention the prior agreement that kept the bill from passing into law?
There is a book entitled “What’s the Matter with Kansas” which explains how politicians pretend to embrace the “pro-life” banner to get voters to vote against their own best economic interests. This unfortunate occurrence has been going on for years in Georgia as well.
In this economy we can not afford this duplicity anymore. We must not let the smoke and mirrors distract Georgia from our financial crisis and continue to hold Georgia’s economy back again. If we improve the economy, we will decrease abortions. This is one pro-Georgian who intends to work to do just that.
* Finer LB et al., Reasons U.S. women have abortions: quantitative and qualitative perspectives, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2005, 37(3):110–118.
Georgia’s WIN List is a political action committee that directs campaign cash to women Democratic candidates. Support of “reproductive freedom” is usually a requirement.
Amy Morton of Macon, chairman of the WIN List, said the PAC has yet to make its endorsements in 2010 races, and so she could not declare whether Carol Porter would receive the group’s support.
But Morton said she is personally supporting Carol Porter’s candidacy, and likes her emphasis on the economy and jobs.
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