Mainstreaming Extremism: More GOP Candidates More Extreme than Ever

Amie Newman

The 2010 crop of GOP candidates is a group with more extreme stances on reproductive rights issues than we've seen in a long time.

The 2010 crop of GOP candidates is a group with more extreme stances on reproductive rights issues than we’ve seen in a long time. Five of these candidates have confirmed they favor forcing a woman to give birth to the offspring of her rapist, should she become pregnant as the result of rape.  The idea that the government should not even provide an exception for women to choose abortion when pregnancy is the result of rape or incest used to be an extremely fringe position.  Being anti-choice is standard for GOP candidates as the party continues to rid itself of social moderates, but five candidates confirming they are against these exceptions seems to be a trend toward mainstreaming the extreme. 

Here is a roundup of the most extreme anti-choice GOP candidates up for election to Congress next Tuesday.

Sharron Angle (R) – Candidate for Senate in Nevada

Running against incumbent Sen. Harry Reid (D), Sharron Angle, backed by the Tea Party, won her primary race against the GOP establishment candidate.

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Angle opposes abortion access even in cases of rape or incest, or when the pregnancy poses a threat to a woman’s health. She’s even gone so far as to say that, essentially, women who become pregnant from a rape should “make lemonade out of lemons” – because it’s God’s plan.

Angle is as extreme as a candidate gets on women’s health access and proves that female lawmakers don’t necessarily support women’s – or gay – rights. She:

  • Opposes abortion in all cases, including rape and incest, and is against national health care coverage for the procedure.
  • Opposes adding “sexual orientation” as a protected minority under current civil rights laws, and opposes laws allowing homosexuals to adopt children.
  • Believes clergymen should have the right to support or disapprove of candidates from the pulpit, something that’s banned by the federal government and punished by revoking tax exempt status.
  • Supports school prayer and “religious speech” in public schools.

Finally, Angle recently attempted to (embarrassingly and offensively) defend her strong anti-immigrant position to a group of young Hispanic students, telling them that some of them “looked Asian” and that the people they saw in her anti-immigration commercials, by a border fence, were not necessarily Latino – that they could have been coming from our country’s northern border.

Angle is endorsed by the Susan B. Anthony List (anti-choice) and the National Right to Life Committee.

Sen. Reid has a mixed record on abortion but a strong record when it comes to supporting women’s health and rights in general. He’s supported UNFPA funding, the Paycheck Fairness Act, equity in insurance coverage for contraception, and ensuring emergency contraception is available to sexual assault victims in emergency rooms.

Read more about Sharron Angle on Rewire…

Read more about this race in NARAL’s voter guide…

Ken Buck (R) – Candidate for Senate in Colorado 

Running against incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (D), Ken Buck is backed by the Tea Party.

Buck has dodged a hard-line position on abortion during the campaign season switching between an extreme anti-choice position, even in cases of rape or incest, and a “softer” stance where he says he wouldn’t introduce a ban on abortion, though he’d support one.

According to the Washington Post, referring to his position on reproductive rights, he has said he “doesn’t believe in the exceptions of rape or incest. I believe that the only exception, I guess, is life of the mother. And that is only if it’s truly the life of the mother.” (Huh? We all know how well we women can “fake” our own death).

Ken Buck initially threw his support behind the Personhood Amendment in Colorado (Amendment 62), only to retract his support soon after saying, “This isn’t how I looked at the personhood amendment. I’m not in favor of banning common forms of birth control.” 

But, most recently, Buck made a truly horrific turn for the worse when he refused to prosecute a rape case in his state, despite a confession from the attacker. He called it a case of “buyer’s remorse” and blamed the victim in the attack.

The National Right to Life does not endorse the Personhood Amendment but endorses Ken Buck while the American Right to Life does not endorse Ken Buck.

Sen. Bennet has run this ad against Ken Buck’s “extreme ideas.”

Read more about Ken Buck on Rewire…

Read more about this race in NARAL’s voter guide…

Christine O’Donnell (R) – Running for Senate in Delaware

Running against Chris Coons (D), Christine O’Donnell is backed by the Tea Party in her bid for Joe Biden’s former Senate seat.

Amanda Marcotte calls O’Donnell the “Wingnut’s Wingnut” and she’s been called one of Sarah Palin’s new “mama-grizzlies.” She’s easily labeled as anti-choice and anti-sex and has been caught in a web of lies regarding finances.

O’Donnell is famous for her anti-masturbation stance (not really a public policy stance but entertaining). O’Donnell is extremely anti-choice even in cases of rape or incest. She opposes even abstinence-only education because she feels the entire subject should not be spoken of.

She is also strongly opposed to gay rights, including same sex marriage. Her former Outreach Director at SALT (the organization she founded, Savior Alliance for Lifting the Truth) came out about his sexuality, after struggling for years and finally attempting to speak with O’Donnell about it. He struggled as they preached a strong anti-gay message through SALT around the country. She unceremoniously dumped him after he revealed he was gay – and they haven’t spoken since.

Of course there’s also her infamous “dabbling in witchcraft” quote and she is well known for her embarrassing debate performance where she couldn’t answer a question about recent Supreme Court case decisions she’s objected to – because she couldn’t name a single case.

Chris Coons, on the other hand, is 100% pro-choice.

Read more about Christine O’Donnell on Rewire…

Read more about this race on NARAL’s voter guide…

Rand Paul (R) – Running for Senate in Kentucky

Running against Kentucky Attorney General Jack Nelson (D), Rand Paul is backed by the Tea Party.

Most recently Paul has been in the news for one supporter’s decision to wrestle a Paul opponent to the ground and stomp on her head.

Rand Paul wants to save money by cutting lower income pregnant women, children and elderly people off the Medicaid rolls because he thinks his state has made it “too easy” for them to access Medicaid.

Paul is also extremely anti-choice, even in cases of rape or incest or to save the life of the woman.

Paul also is anti-gay rights and even believes we shouldn’t legislate civil rights issues.

Paul is endorsed by the National Right to Life Committee, Concerned Women for America and Republican National Coalition for Life.

Jack Nelson, his challenger, is pro-choice.

Read more about Rand Paul on Rewire…

Read more about this race on NARAL’s voter guide… 

Carly Fiorina (R) – Running for Senate in California

Fiorina is running against incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Fiorina is anti-choice and has the backing of the Susan B. Anthony List and Sarah Palin.  Emily’s List is actively campaigning against Fiorina in California.  

The Susan B. Anthony List attempted a voter education campaign to reach out to Latino voters in the state to advocate for Fiorina but, says Emily’s List, “Somehow we doubt this effort, which will include a bus tour and online ads, will actually tell the real story of Carly Fiorina, who was fired from HP after a disastrous tenure (but still with a $21 million golden parachute!); who happily shipped American jobs overseas and laid off thousands of workers; and who supports letting people on the no-fly list purchase guns. This all adds up to a candidate who would not advocate on behalf of California’s families, women, or economy.”

The Los Angeles Times endorsed Boxer over Fiorina because “on too many issues she reflects the doctrinaire conservatism that is ascendant in the Republican Party. By contrast, Boxer has been a voice — if sometimes a strident one — for values promoted by this editorial page: individual rights, equality, environmental protection and constructive engagement by the federal government with national economic problems, including the crisis in healthcare.

Read more about Carly Fiorina on Rewire…

Read more about this race on NARAL’s voter guide…

Marco Rubio (R) – Running for Senate in Florida

Running against Governor Charlie Crist (I) and Rep. Kendrick Meek (D), Marco Rubio is backed by the Tea Party.

Back in June of this year, the Florida legislature, led by rabidly anti-choice House Speaker Rubio, passed an anti-choice bill forcing women to pay for an ultrasound prior to an abortion (unless they could prove they were pregnant as the result of rape). The bill also would have prohibited women who received government subsidies through the yet to be created state health exchanges from purchasing private insurance coverage of abortion (ie with their own money!). Governor Charlie Crist vetoed the bill and Marco Rubio promptly pulled out the false message perpetuated during this campaign season by anti-choice organizations that “Governor Crist’s veto…clears the way for taxpayer funded abortion.” Despite the St. Petersburg’s Times’ PolitiFact conclusively ruling Rubio’s statement wholly false, Rubio has continued to make the claim.

Rubio is endorsed by the National Right to Life Committee.

Rubio has consistently attacked Crist because Crist takes a moderate view on reproductive rights issues. He vetoed the ultrasound bill because he thought it would place an undue burden on women’s access to care. He supports maintaining Roe v. Wade as well. Crist was quoted on abortion legislation as saying that, “Personal views should not result in laws that unwisely expand the role of government and coerce people to obtain medical tests or procedures that are not medically necessary.”

As Robin Marty has written, Rubio is closely aligned with the Palin Tea Partiers. He’s got a solid lead, ahead of both Crist and Democrat Meeks.

Kendrick Meeks has a solidly pro-choice record and position on reproductive rights.

Read more about Marco Rubio on Rewire…

Read more about this race on NARAL’s voter guide…

Joe Miller (R) – Running for Senate in Alaska

Running against write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski (R) and Scott McAdams (D), Miller is backed by the Tea Party.

Joe Miller states his unequivocal anti-choice stance in his platform: “I am unequivocally pro-life and life must be protected from the moment of conception to the time of natural death.”

The anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List, which has endorsed Miller, is running commercials now targeting Miller’s primary foe, Murkowski, on her reproductive rights stance. In advertising which uses similar statements found to be false in other states, SBA List is paying for ads in Alaska which say that Joe Miller supports rescinding “taxpayer funded abortion” in federal health care reform, despite the fact that the health care reform law does not include any measure which allows taxpayer funded abortion.

Miller opposes a woman’s right to choose in nearly all cases, believing that an abortion should be legal only when a woman’s life is endangered.  He does not support exceptions for rape or incest and is a staunch supporter of parental consent laws.

Miller also opposes comprehensive sexuality education, stem cell research and supports the Global Gag Rule.

Joe Miller is endorsed by NRLC, Concerned Women for America, Alaska Right to Life and the Alaska Family Research Council, the first time the organization has endorsed a candidate.

Read more about Joe Miller on Rewire…

Read more about this race on NARAL’s voter guide…

Pat Toomey (R) – Running for Senate in Pennsylvania

Running against Rep. Joe Sestak (D) for U.S. Senate, Pat Toomey is backed by the Tea Party.

Pat Toomey has said he wants to outlaw abortion and jail doctors who provide abortion care. While in Congress, he voted against family planning funding in U.S. aid globally.

Toomey also opposes same sex marriage.

Rep. Joe Sestak is fully pro-choice

Sestak is one of the pro-choice candidates who will be the target of commercials, airing in Pennsylvania, by the anti-choice group The Campaign for Working Families.

Jodi Jacobson, writing about Sestak earlier this year, after his victory over Sen. Arlen Specter, said that if Sestak wins it could be a “net gain for women, families, and the rights of LGBT, African American and Latino populations, because he would be replacing a senator known for being mercurial especially on issues of women’s rights, gay rights, civil rights and sexual and reproductive justice issues.”

Read more about Pat Toomey on Rewire…

Read more about this race on NARAL’s voter guide…

Dino Rossi (R) – Running for Senate in Washington State

Running against 3-term incumbent Sen. Patty Murray (D).

Dino Rossi is firmly anti-choice, but, for a far-right conservative he’s been tight-lipped about his position (until now). In two previous (and failed) campaigns for governor of Washington State, Rossi claimed reproductive rights and women’s health issues were not at the core of what he needed to discuss with voters.  However, both his record as state senator and his comments about women’s health access make clear what his public policy positions would be if he were to take office.

Although Rossi was deemed not anti-choice enough, compared to Tea Party backed, Republican candidate Clint Didier, his Republican challenger for the nomination in Washington State, Rossi said on a Seattle news station last week that women should only “maybe” be able to access abortion care in cases of rape or incest.

Rossi clearly holds an extreme anti-choice view on which he would act as U.S. Senator for Washington State. He supported, along with 9 other state senators, adding “unborn children” to the definition of a person in the state constitution, as well as a proposed parental consent law in the state. He’s opposed women’s access to emergency contraception at pharmacies, likening the access issue to not always being able to get his favorite sports drink at his favorite stores.

Perhaps most urgently for both Washington State residents and Americans in need of health care coverage around the country, Rossi is against the recently passed health care reform law and Governor Gregoire is sure that, if elected, Rossi would do all in his power to block reform for Americans around the country. Washington State is facing extremely difficult cuts to family planning and maternity care services (in addition to cuts to a myriad of health care services) because of a constitutional mandate for a balanced budget and budget shortfalls. 

Despite Rossi being considered – shockingly – not anti-choice enough earlier on in the race, the Susan B. Anthony List endorsed him recently.

Senator Patty Murray has been a staunch reproductive rights and health supporter. She led the fight, along with then Senator Hillary Clinton, to push the FDA to finally approve over-the-counter access to emergency contraception, she’s been a strong advocate for health care reform, called a “champion” for women’s health access by NARAL Pro-Choice America, she’s worked to repeal the abortion ban for military women, she’s fought to expand the Violence Against Women Act and advocates for women’s health and rights in Congress every chance she gets.

Emily’s List has been fighting long and hard for Murray’s re-election.

Washington State has three pro-choice women at the helm, currently – Sens. Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell and Governor Christine Gregoire.

Read more about Dino Rossi on Rewire…

Read more about this race on NARAL’s voter guide…

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