Kentucky Gov. Candidates Have Sharp Differences on Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 30, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Kentucky Gov. Candidates Have Sharp Differences on Abortion

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
July 30, 2003

Frankfort, KY ( — This year, a number of issues are on the minds of voters and on the lips of politicians in the Bluegrass state: economic prosperity, health care, medical malpractice, prescription drug prices, Medicaid reform, education, the state budget, and farming, to name a few.

But while the distinctions between candidates on some of these topics may be subtle, there are sharp differences between major office-seekers in Kentucky when it comes to the life issues.

Republican Congressman Ernie Fletcher, a doctor, is seeking the Governor’s office. A Congressman from Kentucky’s 6th district, Fletcher is known for a 100% pro-life voting record, both in the U.S. House, where he began serving in 1998, and in the Kentucky House, where he served prior to his stint in Congress.

While in Congress, Fletcher has voted for a ban on human cloning and in favor of legislation barring family planning funding in U.S. aid abroad. He also voted to make it a federal crime to kill or injure an unborn child during an attack on a pregnant woman as well as in favor of a ban on partial-birth abortion.

"He will bring strong, moral, conservative leadership to Kentucky," said Margie Montgomery of Kentucky Right to Life.

Montgomery has more than just kind words for Fletcher. Her Kentucky Right to Life Political Action Committee has also given him an endorsement, based upon his 100% pro-life responses on the PAC’s candidate survey.

In contrast, Fletcher’s Democratic opponent, Kentucky Attorney General Ben Chandler, did not respond to the Kentucky Right to Life survey or to requests for a statement. 

On numerous occasions, Chandler, a lawyer, has stated his support for legalized abortion.

In a recent Associated Press report, Chandler said, "I think it is very simply best left to a woman to make that (abortion) decision." Chandler has also received the endorsement of the Kentucky Women’s Political Caucus as a result of his desire to keep abortion legal.

A recent poll commissioned by WHAS-TV in Louisville and WLEX-TV in Lexington shows pro-life Fletcher holding the lead over Chandler, 49% to 43%, with 6% opting for other candidates and 2% undecided. Pro-life leaders believe the Kentucky contest will prove to be one of the most critical Gubernatorial races in the nation.

Kentucky Right to Life is also keeping a close eye on the state’s Attorney General race. The Republican candidate, Jack Wood, has stated publicly that he is pro-life, although he did not return the pro-life organization’s candidate questionnaire.

Rep. Greg Stumbo, the Democratic candidate, did not complete a candidate survey either; however, Montgomery believes Stumbo’s pro-abortion voting record speaks for itself. As a leader in the state legislature, he has worked to block pro-life bills from coming up for a vote. Stumbo also voted against a ban on partial-birth abortions.

At a candidate forum, Stumbo expressed the pro-abortion viewpoint that the government shouldn’t have the right to tell a woman "what to do with her body." He claimed that most Democrats are opposed to abortion but believe in "a woman’s right to choose." He added, "I am ‘pro’ for what makes sense."

Pro-life leaders in Kentucky worry that, if elected Attorney General, Stumbo will continue to pursue a pro-abortion agenda.

Related web sites:

Kentucky Right to Life –
Ernie Fletcher for Governor –
Bill Chandler for Govenor –