Mississippi Primary Election Features Mostly Pro-Life Candidates

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 3, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mississippi Primary Election Features Mostly Pro-Life Candidates

by Maria Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
August 3, 2003

Jackson, MS (LifeNews.com) — In Mississippi, the top issue this election year for pro-life voters isn’t "Who’s against abortion?" but "Who is the best pro-life candidate?"

The Republican primary race for Governor features two contenders who both say they are proudly pro-life.

Candidate Haley Barbour may be best known as the former Chairman of the Republican National Committee and as a leading operative in George W. Bush’s campaign for President. However, if you log onto Barbour’s website, www.haleybarbour.com, you’ll quickly learn that he is a deacon in his church, where he has also taught Sunday School.

And Barbour’s website does not hide his pro-life perspective.

In a section entitled, "Protecting the Rights of the Unborn," Barbour writes: "I am pro-life. I have been a national spokesman on this issue and will continue to be an advocate for policies which promote the sanctity of human life. Mississippi is one of only four states without the ‘conscience exception,’ which permits medical personnel or institutions to refuse to participate in an abortion on the basis of conscience or religious conviction. I support enacting a conscience exception in Mississippi."

But Barbour’s opponent, pro-life lawyer Mitch Tyner, questions Barbour’s pro-life commitment.

Tyner’s campaign has suggested that Barbour is not really pro-life. In fact, in a statement to LifeNews.com, Tyner wrote, "My unwavering pro-life stance is not for sale like that of my opponent’s. He was paid about a million dollars to work for Ted Turner’s group to get the United Nations paid money without the pro-life stipulation attached. I am sold out to Mississippians and not special interests, and my pro-life stance will never be for sale to the highest bidder."

Barbour’s campaign could not be reached for comment on Tyner’s statement.

Tyner is also a member of the Christian Legal Society and a leading goal of his anti-crime initiative is to enact an unborn victims law so that killing or injuring an unborn child is considered a crime victim during an assault on the child’s mother.

Tyner also maintains he is the candidate who is most likely to defeat Democratic incumbent Ronnie Musgrove in the general election. Still, while Tyner labels Musgrove as a liberal, the current Governor is also pro-life.

In a recent Associated Press article, Musgrove’s campaign spokesman, Andrew Poag, noted that the Governor has a record of opposing abortion and supporting adoption. Poag said in a written statement, "The Governor’s commitment to protecting the sanctity of human life is unwavering."

Musgrove faces four little-known Democrats in the primary election.

But the Governor’s race is not the only high-profile race pro-life voters in Mississippi are keeping an eye on. Mississippi Right to Life’s Political Action Committee has endorsed Republican Amy Tuck for Lieutenant Governor and Democrat Eric Clark for Secretary of State.

Tuck, a former member of the state Senate, is only the second woman to hold the office of Mississippi Lieutenant Governor. On her website, she notes that she is a "strong supporter of the legal protection of the unborn."

Barbara Blackmon and Troy Brown are running in the Democratic primary to replace her.

Blackmon, who is normally outspoken as a member of the state Senate, has been evasive on the campaign trail and refuses to say where she stands on abortion.

Meanwhile, Brown, is pro-life. As a black American, he says his community doesn’t support abortion. "By and large, black folks don’t believe in abortion," Brown said in a recent interview.

Clark, the Secretary of State candidate, is now serving his second term as Mississippi’s Secretary of State, having first been elected to statewide office in 1995 and then re-elected in 1999. Before serving as the state’s chief elections officer, Clark served four terms as a member of the state House of Representatives.

For a list of MSRTL-PAC’s political endorsements, including endorsements for the state House and Senate, go to https://www.msrtl.org/msrtl_endorsements.htm. Or you can contact the organization at 1568 W. Government St.; Brandon, MS; 39042 or by phone at 601-824-3200.

One critical pro-life issue facing Mississippi is the question of how to hold those who perform abortions accountable for their actions. According to the Executive Director of Right to Life of Jackson, Pat Cartrette, those who perform abortions should be required to pay for the cost of medical treatment of complications.

Cartrette would like to see legislation that would ensure that abortion practitioners take financial responsibility for their mistakes. She notes that Mississippi Medicaid has been billed nearly $2 million to treat 670 women for abortion complications. That figures out to an average of two to three women a week.

Pro-life activists believe the issue is likely to become a topic of concern for the candidate who is ultimately elected Governor.