Montana Gubernatorial Candidate Garners Pro-Life Leaders’ Endorsements

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 4, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Montana Gubernatorial Candidate Garners Pro-Life Leaders’ Endorsements

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
February 4, 2004

Helena, MT ( — Montana’s Secretary of State Bob Brown received endorsements for his bid for Governor from two former Montana Right to Life executive directors who consider him the strongest pro-life candidate on the GOP ticket. Brown says Montana’s government and citizens do more to reduce abortions in the state.

Dick Tappe, who served as Montana Right to Life’s executive director from 1992 through 1997 and Steven Ertelt, who led Montana Right to Life from 1999 to 2002, both backed Brown on Tuesday.

"Bob Brown, has held the pro-life banner high year after year and we can trust him to represent the pro-life perspective as our next governor," Ertelt said. "He will be a tireless advocate for women and unborn children."

"I do not think it is possible to exaggerate Bob’s commitment to the right to life issue," added Tappe. "He sponsored and passed some of our most important legislation with skill and conviction. His assistance was invaluable."

In the Republican primary, Brown faces businessman Pat Davison, and former state Senators Ken Miller and Tom Keating. All three are pro-life and Keating and Miller also compiled pro-life voting records during their tenure in the state legislature.

The winner will face former Senate candidate Brian Schweitzer, a pro-abortion Democrat. Schweitzer opposes a ban on partial-birth abortions and had the endorsements of pro-abortion organizations, such as NARAL, during his attempt to unseat pro-life U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns (R).

Though Brown received endorsements from Ertelt and Tappe, the Montana Right to Life PAC typically does not favor any particular candidate in a contested primary with more than one pro-life candidate. The group will likely endorse the winner of the Republican primary against Schweitzer.

Though Brown’s political record is very pro-life — as a state Senator he had an excellent voting record and even sponsored key legislation including an informed consent requirement — he hopes to do more as the state’s governor.

"I participated last weekend in a pro-life rally at Kalispell, and the commitment of the people there convinced me more than ever that we need to increase our efforts to reduce the rate of abortion," Brown said following the 31st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. "Our state needs to do is be aggressive about promoting adoption as a life-affirming alternative to abortion. We must ensure that counseling is provided to women seeking abortions. We need to take every measure possible to ensure that those considering abortion, are provided the alternative of adoption."

"Pro-life advocates are often accused, sometimes fairly, of caring too little about what happens to the children of mothers who consider, but ultimately decide against abortion," he added, proposing that Montana reach out to women facing crisis pregnancies through nonprofits and faith-based organizations, and possibly new programs.

Brown also called for the expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for low-income children to include unborn children. The expansion would ensure a healthy start for mothers and babies, he said, by helping lower income women who are pregnant to find adequate prenatal care.

Six other states have included unborn children under the CHIP plan since the Bush administration changed administrative rules allowing them to do so.

"Abortion is a social tragedy that is impossible to ignore," Brown said. "Montana must be known as a state that embraces life, and we should work to nurture, care for, and educate those facing unplanned pregnancies."

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