by Steven Ertelt
September 23, 2005
Richmond, VA (LifeNews.com) — The campaign for governor in Virginia had already gotten nasty on the issue of the abortion, when Democratic candidate Timothy Kaine made it take a turn for the worse. Kaine, the Lt. Governor, held a news conference Thursday and accused pro-life Republican candidate Jerry Kilgore of being insensitive to rape victims because he opposes abortions in such cases.
The news conference featured three sexual abuse counselors who blasted Kilgore for saying that abortions should only be allowed for rape victims if they report the crime within the first seven days of it occurring.
"It’s not only hateful and cruel, it’s also impractical," social worker Jim McKinley-Oakes said, according to a Washington Post report. "It’s an invasion of their privacy not unlike the act of rape itself."
Responding to the harsh attack, Kilgore told the Post that he is "not going to do anything to criminalize women or criminalize victims."
"I’m not going to support legislation that criminalizes women," Kilgore added. "I am going to look for ways to get crimes reported. That’s a consistent view. I’m a culture-of-life guy. I’m not the one being dishonest on the issue."
Kilgore pointed to past work as the state’s Attorney General where he pushed for a law allowing prosecutors to charge husbands with raping their wives in domestic abuse cases.
Kilgore also told the Post Kaine is using abortion as a distraction from the campaign, where polls show Kilgore leading within the margin of error and with a $1 million campaign cash advantage.
"They are getting desperate here, trailing in the polls, trailing in the fundraising," Kilgore said. "I predicted months ago that the minute he found himself behind, he would abandon Southwest Virginia, abandon Southside, go to Northern Virginia and run just on abortion. It proves our point."
Pro-life groups have endorsed Kilgore, but Kaine has not won the backing of pro-abortion groups. Even though he supports abortion, he also favors a ban on partial-birth abortions — which leading abortion advocacy organizations do not.