by Steven Ertelt
October 29, 2004
Oklahoma City, OK (LifeNews.com) — One of the candidates in the very close and contentious race for an open Senate seat in Oklahoma is being accused by pro-life groups of running a deceptive ad that reverses the positions of the candidates.
Brad Carson, who backs abortion, says he is pro-life and labels his pro-life opponent, Dr. Tom Coburn, an abortion advocate.
Earlier this week, the Carson campaign began running a statewide radio spot that claims Coburn, a former Congressman, voted to support taxpayer funding of abortion. It also alleges Coburn, an OBGYN who has delivered thousands of babies, has performed abortions — implying he is an abortion practitioner.
Coburn has performed only two abortions during his career — abortions he says were medically necessary because to prevent the immediate death of the mother.
"In those cases, the mother’s heart and lungs had failed, and both mother and child were about to die," Coburn’s web site said of the very rare medical cases. "So, Dr. Coburn did what he had to do to save the life of the mother."
Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee says that characterization of Coburn’s record is "blatantly false."
"In reality Coburn was a top pro-life champion during his six years of service in Congress," NRLC’s Johnson indicated. "There is only one pro-life candidate in the Senate race, and he is Dr. Tom Coburn."
Johnson pointed out that many pro-life groups and pro-life advocates support the life of the mother exception and that it is regularly featured in pro-life legislation.
Many pro-life advocates believe it is wrong to deny the mother’s right to life and point out that such cases normally involve an unborn child who is dead or will die before birth, as in cases an ectopic pregnancy. Some religious groups do not consider such procedures abortions because the baby has already died.
Though Carson attempts to take Coburn to task on abortion, pro-life advocates say he is the one who favors the grisly practice.
Johnson says Carson has applauded the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion and has voted against pro-life legislation while serving in the state legislature.
Tony Lauinger, state chairman of Oklahomans for Life, called the Carson ad "totally dishonest, both by falsely claiming that Dr. Coburn has voted for abortion, and by falsely suggesting that Mr. Carson’s own record is pro-life."
Carson’s ad also claims Coburn has voted in opposition to the ban on partial-birth abortions. He says a pro-life Republican group, the Republican National Committee for Life, indicated that was true.
However, Colleen Parro, the organization’s director, said the Carson ad is a distortion of Coburn’s record, which includes votes for the ban and sponsorship of it.
"Brad Carson’s shamelessly false radio ad that attempts to sully the outstanding pro-life record of former Congressman Tom Coburn is an outrage," Parro said.
"Never has [Coburn] done anything but promote and support pro-life legislation, and for Brad Carson to say otherwise is a complete distortion of the record," Parro, whose group has endorsed Coburn, added.
Johnson says he can’t recall any time a candidate for public office so obviously distorted the record of another candidate.
"In my 23 years as congressional director at National Right to Life, the Carson radio ad is the most brazenly deceptive ad on abortion that I have ever encountered from any politician, in any state, in any year," Johnson, NRLC’s legislative director, concluded.
Related web sites:
Issue paper on Carson’s pro-abortion record –