by Steven Ertelt
January 17, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — While Democrats fight a contentious battle over whether or not to approve a pro-life advocate as the next party chairman, Republicans are set to begin a battle of their own over approving an abortion advocate as the co-chairman of the national party.
Ken Mehlman, incoming chairman of the Republican National Committee, has asked abortion advocate and party activist, Joann Davidson of Ohio to become the next co-chairman of the party.
Davidson, a former state legislator, has served on the advisory board of Republicans for Choice since its inception in 1990. The group has stumped for pro-abortion Republican candidates and lobbied to change the strong pro-life plank in the Republican Party’s platform ever since.
After word of Davidson’s potential selection filtered back to the group, Republicans for Choice posted a message on its Internet web site encouraging Davidson to "make sure the concerns of pro-choice and moderate Republicans are heard within the Republican National Committee headquarters."
With the selection generating national publicity, the message has since been removed.
Colleen Parro, director of the Republican National Coalition for Life, urges pro-life Republicans to speak out against approving Davidson. Members of the Republican National Committee’s board will vote on the position Wednesday.
"Joann Davidson is not about building a culture of life, and evidently neither is Ken Mehlman," Parro said.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, agreed, and noted that Davidson received poor marks from Ohio Right to Life while she served in the state legislature.
"While many people vouch that Ms. Davidson is a tireless campaigner, her record and reputation on life and key family issues … put her at odds with the hundreds of
thousands of families that worked tirelessly, not only in Ohio, but across the nation to … advance life," Perkins said.
Davidson, former Speaker of the House in the Ohio legislature, refused to comment to the New York Times on her abortion views.
"My focus is on building a stronger party," she said.
Brian Jones, a Republican Party spokesman, told the Times that Mehlman selected Davidson based on her success in helping President Bush win Ohio and succeed in his re-election campaign.
"Joann Davidson is one of the top grassroots activists and leaders in the entire country, and she helped with the historic effort in Ohio that was key to the president’s victory," he said. "That is why she is someone who is ideal for this position."
Patricia Harrison, the co-chairman of the Republican Party during the 2000 election, also backed abortion.
The co-chiarman often speaks for the party in the media, but Mehlman will be the most frequent face of the Republican Party during his tenure.
ACTION: Pro-life Republicans are encouraged to contact Republican party leaders in their state to encourage strong opposition to approving Joann Davidson as co-chairman.