Top Pro-Abortion Republican Congressman Gets Pro-Life Challenger

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 22, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Top Pro-Abortion Republican Congressman Gets Pro-Life Challenger

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
February 22, 2004

Washington, DC ( — A leading pro-abortion Republican congressman known for leading the charge against pro-life legislation in Congress is facing a pro-life opponent in the GOP primary.

U.S. Rep. James Greenwood, a Pennsylvania Republican, is facing a challenge from political newcomer Joseph Montone, who is on a quest to oust the six-term Congressman.

Greenwood gained notoriety for trying to add an exception for the mother’s health to the federal ban on partial-birth abortion. Such health exceptions are considered a legalistic loophole by pro-life groups, who say such an exception could be used by abortion practitioners to justify virtually all abortions.

A number of leading physicians’ groups have said that partial-birth abortion is never necessary to safeguard a woman’s health.

Greenwood is trying to portray the 43-year-old Montone as a fringe candidate because of his opposition to legal abortion. This, despite the fact that public opinion polls show that an increasing number of people, especially young people and women, identify themselves as pro-life.

Ironically, Montone lives next door to one of Greenwood’s Congressional aides. Greenwood told the Morning Call newspaper, "He’s been over to show [Greenwood aide] Sean [Slack] videotapes of abortions. He seems to be a one-issue candidate. He has aligned himself with the fringe."

But pro-life leaders note that Montone’s issue stands do not represent the fringe. For instance, his wholehearted support for the federal ban on partial-birth abortion is shared by 70 percent of Americans, according to recent national polling.

"I truly believe there is life in the mother’s womb," Montone told the Morning Call newspaper. "Partial-birth abortion is a horrendous tragedy and a horrendous crime, in my opinion. His (Greenwood’s) support for partial-birth abortion has motivated me to go to this level."

Montone, who lives in Lower Makefield Township, left his job as an executive at an aviation safety company five years ago to devote his life to the pro-life cause. Montone has produced an educational video on abortion as part of his outreach efforts. He has also hosted a cable television program on abortion known as "Voices for the Unborn."

Montone told the Morning Call he now works as a self-employed flying instructor.

The race for the 8th District PA Congressional seat will also include Democrats Thomas Lingenfelter and Virginia Schrader. Lingenfelter is also pro-life.

Greenwood is one of the few pro-abortion Republicans in the U.S. House.

Greenwood told the Morning Call, "This will be like every other year. My primary opponent will complain I’m not conservative enough, and on primary election night my Democratic opponent will accuse me of being too conservative."

One person who will not claim that Greenwood is too conservative is Gail Pedrick of the Bucks County Christian Coalition.

While Pedrick does not believe Mantone has much of a chance of defeating Greenwood, she told the newspaper, "I’m always pleased when somebody does run. It allows people to express opposition to Greenwood in favor of a pro-life, pro-family conservative."

However, Pedrick told the newspaper other pro-life have run against Greenwood and they usually lose by a two-to-one margin. Greenwood has entrenched himself as an incumbent and draws hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations on which to campaign.

Montone has said he expects to win support from conservative Christians and others who oppose abortion.