During the Oregon primary we covered the allegations made against "Pro-Life" GOP candidate for Congress Mike Erickson, by his Republican opponent Kevin Mannix. Erickson won the primary, and today, The Oregonian moves the story from political allegation to hard facts, supported by several sources. From the story:
Tawnya, now 34, recalled sitting with Erickson in his new
Mercedes that January, parked across from the abortion
clinic. "I was bawling so hard I couldn’t speak. He looked
so sad. He looked like he cared," she said. "I asked him, ‘Are you sure you don’t want a
baby?’ " she said.
"He shook his head. I
opened the door, got out bawling and crossed the street and
walked up to the clinic." Erickson, 45, said he dated Tawnya "for a couple of
He told The Oregonian he didn’t remember
many details about their relationship, including where they
met or when they dated. He said she betrayed no emotion
during the car ride. "Did I pay for an abortion? Absolutely not,"
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"She was having some financial troubles," he said.
"She asked for some money to go have a doctor’s
appointment — not knowing what that was — and whatever
happened, happened, I guess. I didn’t even know she had
Erickson has campaigned on a strict anti-abortion platform
that favors abstinence education and adoption over abortion.
His opponent in last month’s primary, Kevin Mannix,
spotlighted the abortion story in a mass mailing to voters a
week before the election. Mannix did so without
Tawnya’s knowledge or consent.
The story, based on documentation and conversations with multiple sources, goes on to detail a trip Erickson and Tawnya took as friends, with other friends, after the abortion. His denial about knowing that the money he provided was for an abortion rings even more hollow when reading about his accounting of the trip:
"It wasn’t like we
were on a boyfriend-girlfriend trip," Erickson said.
"We were friends, mostly." Erickson said he’s almost certain he did not spend an
intimate evening with Tawnya in Mexico. "I don’t think I did," he said. "I
don’t believe I did."
Either you had sex in Mexico or you didn’t, and even if it wasn’t that memorable, you’d probably recall.
Mike Erickson is a metaphor for what is happening in the "Pro-Life" movement this election cycle. The hypocrisy, evident for everyone to see, is not just that he claims to be "Pro-Life" while paying for his girlfriend’s abortion, but also in the fact that the entire "Pro-Life" movement is morally bankrupt. Promoting abstinence-only, making contraception more difficult to access, and outlawing abortion does nothing to prevent unintended pregnancies. Had Roe v. Wade been overturned when this happened, would Erickson have acted differently? Would the pregnancy miraculously not have happened?
The image of this man, in his Mercedes, giving a woman who makes $13.37/hour, $300 for "medical help" that he claims he didn’t know the reason for, is akin to people of means knowing they will always be able to get access to health care needs, whatever they may be, while denying those same rights to others. Erickson is not talking about preventing abortions in his campaign, he is talking about prohibiting them, overturning Roe v. Wade, because as a person of wealth and power, he’ll always find a way around the law. He’ll always be able to look reporters in the eye and deny reality.
The question in this election is not about ending abortion by overturning Roe v. Wade, it is about electing people who believe in education, prevention and providing necessary reproductive health care to all women. Reproducitve health care that includes contraception, so that unintended pregnancies, like the one this "Pro-Life" candidate helped create, are more rare, and that women who choose to terminate those unintended pregnancies, as this "Pro-Life" candidate encouraged her to do, can access the same safe, legal care Tawnya did.
The "Pro-Life" movement can continue to make Roe v. Wade a litmus test, pretending that changing the law will eliminate abortion. The reality of one of their own candidates, Mike Erickson, suggests otherwise.