Mainstreaming Extremism: More GOP Candidates More Extreme than Ever


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.

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 RH Reality Check…

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 RH Reality Check…

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 RH Reality Check…

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 RH Reality Check…

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 RH Reality Check…

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 RH Reality Check…

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 RH Reality Check…

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 RH Reality Check…

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 RH Reality Check…

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

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  • crowepps

    Joe Miller managed to win the primary because there was an initiative on the ballot about parental notification for abortion and the pastors organized to get all the anti-choice zealots and religionists to the polls.  For the main event, they have now started a whisper campaign to get the same back to the polls by insisting that Judge Fabe needs to be voted off the bench — teh GAYZ!  teh SLUTS/BABYKILLERS! teh LIBERAL!!

     

    Sigh.  Alaska ain’t what it used to be at all.  Sometimes it seems like every whackaloon pastor in the country is bringing his ignorant cult up here so they can attempt to institute ‘Christian government’.  Which is why they don’t like Judge Fabe — aside from their outrage that a woman is in a position of power, she thwarts their attempts to institute a theocracy by insisting laws conform to our State Constitution.  But the REAL point of the ‘movement’ is to give all the loons a reason to show up at the polls.

  • bebe

    You forgot to add Kristi Noem to your list of GOP extremists……she’s running for South Dakota’s lone House seat as a tea party conservative who is proud to extol her “Right to Life” credentials……. she voted for an extreme abortion ban proposed by our state legislators…….our current House member, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, is a big supporter of women’s reproductive rights……the polls show the race is too close to call……..

  • andenakker

    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.

    If society is moving in a particular direction, and you simply stand where you are long enough, eventually you will “become” “extreme,” even though you haven’t moved an inch since you were right in the middle of the mainstream.  Of course, the real fallacy in a statement like this is the implication that there is some plot of middle ground that is occupied by the vast majority of people, when in fact such a middle ground is practically nonexistent – polls show that only about 2% of people take a decidedly neutral position on these issues – making pretty much everyone “extreme.”  In fact, since those same polls over the past 2 years have consistently shown that more Americans identify as “pro-life” than “pro-choice” – often outnumbering the pro-choice and neutral crowds put together – it’s a skosh more reasonable to suggest that those on the pro-life side are mainstream and that everyone else is extreme than anything to the contrary.

  • crowepps

    Pro-Life versus Pro-Choice isn’t the question, though, is it?  The question is, under what circumstances should the LAW allow abortions to be legal or restrict them?

     

    Polls pretty consistently reveal that ‘no abortion under any circumstances whatsoever’ is an extreme position held by approx. 15% of the population.

     

    Polls pretty consistently reveal that ‘abortion should be available not matter what the reason is a position held by approx. 35% of the population.

     

    The rest are at some intermediate stage, some abortions, under some circumstances, at some times.

     

    http://www.pollingreport.com/abortion.htm

     

    It is possible to be SIMULTANEOUSLY ProLife and ProChoice, as in ‘I would never personally have an abortion BUT I don’t think they should be illegal.

     

  • arekushieru

    Pro-Choice IS the middle ground, though.  Pro-Abortion and Pro-Life are the extremes on either end.

  • andenakker

    Pro-Choice IS the middle ground, though.

    Pro-choice is a convenient position for those who’ve never had to or been willing to deal with the reality of what abortion is in a physical sense.  When pressed to defend their position, inevitably they either become pro-life, or they begin to deny basic biological facts about embryos or fetuses or abortion, in which case they become pro-abortion.  “Pro-choice” cannot be the middle ground, for the simple fact that there is nothing there to stand on.

  • andenakker

    Polls pretty consistently reveal that ‘no abortion under any circumstances whatsoever’ is an extreme position held by approx. 15% of the population.

    Of course, another category in the same polls is “Only legal in certain circumstances” – the position taken by about 44% of respondents – which includes those who say that “abortion” should be permitted only to save the life of the mother.  In those few polls that actually differentiate between those who take that or the aforementioned “extreme” position of accepting no abortions at all and those who accept abortion for other reasons (rape, physical health of the mother, etc.), about 27-30% accept “abortion” only to save the life of the mother or do not accept abortion at all (which really means that they accept medical intervention to save the life of the mother, even if an undesired but unavoidable side effect of that intervention is to end the life of her baby, which they do not call abortion).  That’s not significantly different from the number of people who take the extreme position of accepting practically no restrictions on abortion whatsoever, which is effectively the status quo.

     

    It is possible to be SIMULTANEOUSLY ProLife and ProChoice, as in ‘I would never personally have an abortion BUT I don’t think they should be illegal.

    To call that a “pro-life” position is like suggesting that I’m pro-public protection by saying that I wouldn’t commit manslaughter myself but don’t think that it should be illegal.

    On a more practical level, many of those who take this position – including most of those who’ve taken it publicly and famously – are either men or past childbearing age, in which cases the position is meaningless.  For anyone else, it’s an incredibly arrogant and even classist and/or eugenist position to take.  Pregnancy isn’t always planned, even for those who make a near-religion out of planning them.  Nor can the negative impacts that pregnancy may have on one’s health or other threats to health that can develop anytime including during pregnancy always be foreseen.  What these people are saying is that despite the possibility of such unpredictable circumstances, their baby would be worthy of life, even though they may have to make some personal sacrifices to preserve it.  By saying that abortion should not be illegal, however, they’re effectively saying that the lives of others’ babies may not be so worthy that they ought to be protected.

  • arekushieru

    Actually, ProLife has proven over and over, again, that they are just there to control women’s bodies.  When you ask them to grant the same right to life to others that they would grant to feoti, they, inevitably, retract what they said and fall back on the conclusion that Pro*Choicers* have promoted from the beginning, that everyone owns their bodies and they are the ones to decide who can and is able to use their bodies.  Of course, the only possible conclusions that ProChoicers can draw from that are that ProLifers can’t stand the idea of being forced to have someone else use their body in order to save their lives but don’t mind forcing others to have their bodies be used in the same manner (iow, hypocrites), that they want to punish solely the women of their own community (since the ProLife movement, for the most part, supports war in foreign countries which directly lead to the death of pregnant women and, thus, the fetuses) who refuse to collaborate with the patriarchy (since ProLife women abort their unwanted pregnancies, too), especially women of visible minorities and that they just are (had been)  really ignorant ProChoicers.  Which, in turn, can only lead us to believe that those ‘ProChoicers’ who become ProLife weren’t really ProChoice in the first place, otherwise they wouldn’t be so seriously deluded into believing that the unborn deserve more rights than anyone born, simply because of their less developed anatomy.  Weird that I understand that I am equating someone with a less developed anatomy and social function to someone with a more developed anatomy and social function while you don’t, yet you are claiming it is ProCHOICERS who deny basic biological facts. 

    Never met a ‘true’  ProChoicer who became anti-choice in either direction (meaning Pro’Life’ or ProAbortion, OF course), btw.  A ‘true’ ProChoicer meaning one who recognizes that NO one deserves more rights than anyone else.  In one extreme, the woman is denied basic rights while the unborn is given more rights than ANYone born (Pro’life’) and, in the other, both the fetus and the woman are denied basic rights, while all other classes of born humans retain them (ProAbortion).  So, I’m sure you can CLEARly see, now…?  I was right.  ProChoicers ARE the middle ground.  Thanks.

  • arekushieru

    To call that a “pro-life” position is like suggesting that I’m pro-public protection by saying that I wouldn’t commit manslaughter myself but don’t think that it should be illegal.

    So, my mom giving birth to me means I’m not alive.  Wow, you guys just get more and more ridiculous, every day.

    ‘Which they do not call abortion’…?  Abortion IS the termination of a pregnancy.  Last I checked, from implantation until birth, there IS a pregnancy.  A miscarriage is spontaneous aBORtion.  Really, when you ProLifers can FInally come up with some FACTS, maybe, then, I’ll listen to you.

    (which really means that they accept medical intervention to save the life of the mother, even if an undesired but unavoidable side effect of that intervention is to end the life of her baby,

    Then the fetus DOESn’t have a right to life.  Either it does in all cases, or it doesn’t in all cases.  WHEN will you ProLifers realize you CAN’T have it both ways…?  Oh, right, I forgot, this is the group that figures that the only time that the right to bodily autonomy doesn’t apply is when you’re a woman so they must figure that rights can be rights even when they’re applied unevenly.  I never could understand how one could live so illogically.

    Fetuses lives ARE protected.  You, and all other ProLifers, simply want them to be protected MORE than ANYone born.

    I have never heard of a ProLifer that continued a pregnancy that they didn’t want.

    And, of course, you are unable to make the distinction, once again, between those who are morally/legally opposed to abortion yet are even more opposed morally/legally, for whatever reason, to placing those same kinds of restrictions on abortion.  EPic fail is all that is.

  • andenakker

    Not that your comments merit a response, but for the benefit of those in the audience I feel the need to point out a contradiction in your statements as well as clarify a point on which you’re apparently still confused.

     

    You, and all other ProLifers, simply want them to be protected MORE than ANYone born.

    That’s not true, as proven by my own identification of circumstances in which it’s permissible to take the life of an unborn baby.  However, it’s clear that you don’t want to permit me to accept such a reasonable course of action when you say things like:

    Either it [the fetus] does [have a right to life] in all cases, or it doesn’t in all cases.

    You make your arguments, and I’ll make mine.  Thank you.

     

    ‘Which they do not call abortion’…?  Abortion IS the termination of a pregnancy.

    It’s not a question of what actually occurs, it’s a question of intent.  If the intent is to save the life of the mother, then that’s the proper way to describe what was done.  The fact that saving her life entailed the undesired but unavoidable side effect of ending the life of her unborn baby is no reason to call it an “abortion” instead.  I used to call these instances “abortion to save the life of the mother” myself, but have since adjusted my terminology to match the true intent.  I suspect that most of those who still identify with the idea that “abortion” can be done to save the life of the mother would make the same adjustment were they to think about it enough.

  • forced-birth-rape

    ~ No ones right to life gives them the right to use a womans, little girls, or pregnant rape victims body against her will, no ones right to life gives them the right to cause women, little girls, or pregnant rape victims vaginal pain against the woman, little girl, or pregnant rape victims will, no ones right to life gives them the right to terrorize any woman, little girl, or pregnant rape victim with anticipation of future vaginal pain against the woman, little girls, or pregnant rape victims will. Any woman, little girl, or pregnant rape victim who can not get an abortion, does not have custody of her own vagina, life, or body. Forced birth, is forced vaginal pain on females against their will. Forced birth is emotional terrorism on pregnant females. I speak from experience, there is nothing worse then having to anticipate unwanted vaginal agony. I would rather be aborted then have you for a father Kevin. ~

  • crowepps

    Pro-choice is a convenient position for those who’ve never had to or been willing to deal with the reality of what abortion is in a physical sense. 

    Just as Anti-Abortion is a convenient position for those who’ve never had to or been willing to deal with the reality of what PREGNANCY is in a physical sense.

     

    I sure am tired of being lectured by men on what women should do, think, believe, want.

     

    If men really, truly want to stop all abortions, they should be directing their efforts towards OTHER MEN to make sure there are no unwanted conceptions.

  • jessg210

    Hey there. While I’m disgusted by Rand Paul’s radical positions on abortion and contraception (against abortion in cases of rape and incest, opposed to certain forms of contraception, etc), I do want to clarify something. I did some research, and I’m pretty sure that Paul is not opposed to abortion when a mother’s life is in danger. (See his response to question number two on the Northern Kentucky Right to Life 2010 Election Candidate Questionnaire.) I could be wrong, though.