California Recall Focus Quickly Shifts to Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 14, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

California Recall Focus Quickly Shifts to Abortion

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 14, 2003

Sacramento, CA ( — It didn’t take long for the issue of abortion to become a focus in the California recall battle and no one is surprised.

Gov. Gray Davis has already been called the most pro-abortion governor in the state’s history by pro-life groups, Arnold Schwarzenegger says he backs abortion, and other leading candidates take divergent views on life issues.

Davis is working to shore up his support from one of his strongest constituencies — abortion advocates. He spoke before a pro-abortion gathering Wednesday in San Francisco.

"In my first inaugural address, in January of 1999, I said to those who would deny a woman’s right to choose, don’t waste the Legislature’s time because it will not happen on my watch. And I have kept that promise," Davis said to wild applause and cheers.

In turn for his loyalty to the cause, pro-abortion groups are giving Davis their full support.

"Make no mistake about it there is a direct line from the anti-choice movement’s stealth strategy to undermine Roe vs. Wade and the way it set up this recall election," said Kate Michelman, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. "They can’t make government interfere in our personal decisions unless they grab control of government."

Unfortunately, not everyone seeking to replace Davis is pro-life.

The high-profile entrance of actor Arnold Schwarzenegger has taken much of the emphasis away from two leading pro-life candidates — businessman Bill Simon and state Sen. Tom McClintock. Both are pro-life and have the support of pro-life advocates in the state.

Schwarzenegger appeared on FoxNews’ "Bill O’Reilly" program in May 2001 and said he disagreed with President Bush’s pro-life position.

"I’m for choice," Schwarzenegger said on the program. "The women should have the choice. The women should decide what they want to do with their bodies. I’m all for that."

Schwarzenegger’s pro-abortion position means he won’t receive the support of pro-life advocates.

"If a candidate doesn’t support life, then I’d have great difficulty supporting him," Terry Thompson, an attorney, said. "In the past, when I’ve compromised my vote, I’ve regretted it."

While Simon and McClintock are the leading choices for pro-life community to oust Davis, abortion advocates have another friend in the race: pro-abortion Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamente.

Brian Johnston, director of the California Pro-Life Council, told that Bustamente is misleading California Hispanics about his position in favor of abortion.

"The Hispanic community is unaware how pro-abortion Cruz Bustamante really is," Johnson explained. "He has carefully tried to present himself as a social conservative whenever he speaks to the Spanish-speaking media."

The concern is that, with so many candidates in the race, Bustamente could rally the large Hispanic population around him and achieve enough of a plurality to win.