by Steven Ertelt
October 22, 2004
LifeNews.com Note: This is the seventeenth in a series of articles covering the 2004 elections state by state from the pro-life viewpoint.
Oklahoma City, OK (LifeNews.com) — National pro-life leaders are watching this year’s Senate contest in the Sooner State. Oklahomans have a choice between a candidate with a 100 percent pro-life record and one with a mixed record on pro-life issues.
But the percentages don’t tell the whole story.
While Republican Tom Coburn has a 100 percent pro-life voting record and Democrat Brad Carson has a 67 percent pro-life record, the two are actually miles apart when it comes to critical life issues.
A comparison piece published by National Right to Life shows Coburn led the fight for the federal ban on partial-birth abortion, while Carson voted for a "killer" amendment that would have permitted such abortions to preserve a woman’s "health."
Pro-life leaders say the health exception is a loophole that could allow partial-birth abortions to go on unabated and doctors groups say the three-day long abortion procedure is never necessary to protect a woman’s health.
Coburn, an OBGYN, opposes Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion, while Carson supports legal abortion — even for birth control.
Coburn also led the Congressional effort to restrict RU-486, the abortion pill that has resulted in the deaths of teenage girls in California and Sweden recently. In addition, Coburn opposes abortions at military hospitals and supports parental notice or consent before an abortion takes place.
In contrast, Carson voted to require military facilities to perform abortions on demand. He also voted to allow adults to take minor girls across state lines to obtain illegal abortions. In addition, he voted against protecting hospitals in the U.S. from being forced to participate in abortions.
Coburn has the support of a number of national leaders, such as President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Focus on the Family leader Dr. James Dobson.
On his campaign website, Coburn, who describes himself as a doctor and two-time cancer survivor, lists his pro-life credentials.
He states that he is "staunchly opposed to abortion in all cases, with the lone and rare exception of when the life of the mother is endangered." He also states that he "is opposed to euthanasia, physician assisted suicide and destructive embryonic stem cell research."
On the subject of adult stem cell research, Coburn said that it is not only more ethically sound than embryonic stem cell research — it’s also more successful.
"All of the clinically successful human applications of stem cells to date have been conducted with adult stem cells and even where embryonic stem cells have shown some potential, the outcomes have been superior with adult stem cells," Coburn said.
"There is no reason, therefore, to believe that adult stem cells or stem cells from cord blood do not have the same — if not greater — potential than stem cells derived from embryos," he added.
Carson had been doing well in the polls, but Coburn has taken a recent lead. The last two polls show the pro-life doctor with advantages of 3 and 6 percent apiece. In October, Coburn has been leading in 6 out of the 8 last polls.
In the presidential race, President Bush has the state sewn up handily.
Bush defeated AL Gore by a 22 percent margin in 2000 and the latest polls in Oklahoma show him leading Kerry by about 30 points.
Meanwhile, a number of Republican Congressmen with 100 percent pro-life voting records are running for re-election. They include: John Sullivan, Frank Lucas, Tom Cole, and Ernest Istook.
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