South Carolina Senate Candidate Tries to Hide Pro-Abortion Stance

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

South Carolina Senate Candidate Tries to Hide Pro-Abortion Stance

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
May 4, 2004

Columbia, SC ( — A U.S. Senate candidate in South Carolina is under fire amid allegations that she is trying to mislead voters about her position on abortion.

Democrat Inez Tenenbaum has claimed that she doesn’t have a hardcore pro-abortion stance on the critical life issue. But a number of pro-life leaders disagree, noting that Tenenbaum has accepted money from EMILY’s list, an organization that funds pro-abortion candidates. She’s vying for the seat held by retiring Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, who backed abortion.

Tenenbaum created a furor when she suggested that she would have voted for the federal ban on partial-birth abortion, but only if it had included a "health" exception for the mother.

A spokesman for Tenenbaum’s campaign, Adam Kovacevich, said the Tenenbaum camp believes that late-term abortion and partial-birth abortion "should be banned, and we believe there need to be safeguards for a woman’s life and health."

However, pro-life advocates note that health exceptions in abortion legislation are notorious loopholes which can allow doctors to perform abortions because a woman is a teenager or because she says she’s depressed — or for any other reason.

Leading medical experts have said that partial-birth abortion is never necessary to safeguard a woman’s health. Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop has even noted that such abortions could be dangerous for a woman.

While Tenenbaum appears to be soft-peddling her support of abortion in order to win over pro-life voters, pro-life advocates in South Carolina say there’s no doubt Tenenbaum is pro-abortion.

"Our objective is to defeat militant pro-abortion Democrat Inez Tenenbaum," said Holly Gatling, a spokeswoman for the South Carolina Citizens for Life Political Action Committee.

But SCCL PAC will not be making an endorsement in the GOP primary race for Senate, with good reason: the Republican candidates are strong advocates for life.

Gatling notes that the "Republican primary for U.S. Senate is a win-win situation for unborn children. The SCCL PAC will not take a position in that race because the GOP candidates are strongly pro-life."

"The SCCL PAC will enthusiastically endorse and work for the election of the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate who wins the primary election," Gatling added.

Meanwhile, state GOP Executive Director Luke Byars suggests that Tenenbaum’s relationship with the pro-abortion EMILY’s list shows her political leanings are out of the mainstream when it comes to abortion.

"Not only is she seeking donations from all of their members, she’s contributing to them," Byars told the Associated Press. "It’s just really highlighting the relationship between her and EMILY’s List."

The Tenenbaum campaign maintains the $20,000 the candidate sent to EMILY’s list was just to pay for mailing costs.

"They (the Republicans) clearly do not want to run on bread-and-butter economic issues like jobs, so they’re trying to make her into something that she’s not and distract people from the real issues in South Carolina," Kovacevich told AP.

However, pro-life leaders note that many South Carolina citizens believe that the right to life remains a critical issue and want their elected officials to fight to protect it.

Pundits have also noted that Tenenbaum appears to be trying to distance herself from fellow Democrat John Kerry, the party’s presumptive Presidential nominee. Kerry is staunchly pro-abortion and has voted against such legislation as the ban on partial-birth abortions and a bill to protect women and their unborn children from criminal acts of violence.

South Carolina Citizens for Life –