Florida Pro-Lifers Fight for Presidential, Senate Races, Abortion Ballot Issue

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 19, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Florida Pro-Lifers Fight for Presidential, Senate Races, Abortion Ballot Issue Email this article
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by Maria Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
October 19, 2004

LifeNews.com Note: This is the fourteenth in a series of articles covering the 2004 elections state by state from the pro-life viewpoint.

Tallahassee, FL (LifeNews.com) — Once again, the eyes of the nation are fixed on Florida. But this time, it’s not because of a hurricane. Political analysts are closely watching Florida, site of the 2000 vote-counting debacle, because it again is ground zero in the presidential battle.

And the Florida Right to Life political action committee is hoping to help President George W. Bush secure a second term.

On its website, the organization states, "In this crucial election year, we can’t afford to let President Bush be defeated by the Kerry-Edwards team. In order to continue the positive trends made in this term, we must vote the Bush-Cheney ticket, and urge our friends and family and the undecided to do the same. The fate of the unborn depends on us."

Meanwhile, a pro-life Republican and a pro-abortion Democrat appear to be in a dead heat in Florida’s hotly contested race for the U.S. Senate.

GOP candidate Mel Martinez, a former member of President George W. Bush’s cabinet, is in a statistical tie with Democrat Betty Castor, a former state education commissioner.

Each candidate has 45 percent of the vote, according to a poll published by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research. Nine percent of Florida voters are undecided.

A poll conducted Oct. 8 indicated Martinez was slightly ahead, 46 percent to 41 percent.

Martinez is endorsed by both National Right to Life and its Florida affiliate.

Martinez worked as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Prior to that, he was the first popularly elected Republican to serve as Orange County Chairman. He immigrated to the U.S. from Cuba at the age of 15.

On his campaign website, in a section entitled, "Protecting Our Family Values," Martinez states, "I will work to foster a culture of life in America."

Castor, who describes herself as a moderate, supports the expansion of embryonic stem cell research. Such research, which involves the killing of human embryos, is opposed by pro-life groups.

In a debate on Monday, the candidates fought over the issue of abortion.

Martinez focused on abortion and talked about his family.

"My hope is that we can convince Americans that we need to encourage a culture of life. And I think that is really why Kitty and I through our lives have been so committed to adoption. Our first child was adopted," Martinez said during the debate.

Martinez also said too many women are pressured into having an abortion.

"The fact that too many women are driven into abortion by a husband, a spouse, a boyfriend, sometimes a parent. And those people need to have our compassion and our help as well," Martinez explained.

Castor defended her pro-abortion position, saying, "I will fight to protect Roe v. Wade when I go to the United States Senate."

Castor has been endorsed by pro-abortion groups in her effort to take over the seat vacated by retiring Senator Bob Graham. She has benefited from hundreds of thousands of dollars from Emily’s List, a pro-abortion organization that recruits and funds pro-abortion women candidates.

EMILY’s List is spending up to $1 million on ads during the final two weeks of the campaign questioning Martinez’s opposition to embryonic stem cell research

Meanwhile, Florida voters are also focused on a ballot issue that would allow the state legislature to pass a parental notification measure. Polls show most voters favor the proposal.

From a pro-life standpoint, Florida has reason to boast: A number of the Congressional candidates seeking re-election have 100 percent pro-life voting records and none are expected to be defeated this year.

They include: Jeff Miller (R–1st district), Ander Crenshaw (R-4th district), Cliff Stearns (R-6th district), John Mica (R-7th district), Ric Keller (R–8th district), Mike Bilirakis (R–9th district), C.W. “Bill” Young (R–10th district), Adam Putnam (R-12th district), Dave Weldon (R–15th district), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R–18th district), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R–21st district), Mario Diaz-Balart (R–25th district).

Related web sites:

Florida Pro-Life Voters’ Guide – https://www.wevoteprolife.com/florida.htm
Florida Right to Life – https://www.frtl.org
Mel Martinez campaign website – https://www.melforsenate.org