by Steven Ertelt
May 3, 2006
Indianapolis, IN (LifeNews.com) — Lawmakers who stand in the way of passing legislation to limit abortions should think twice before upsetting Indiana Right to Life with their actions. Senate President Pro Tem Robert Garton, a 36-year veteran of the Indiana legislature, found that out the hard way on Tuesday night as a pro-life primary challenger sent him home to retire.
Garton came under fire from the statewide pro-life group for refusing to allow a floor vote on a pro-life bill before a key legislative deadline.
IRTL said Garton wouldn’t allow a vote on a measure that would tell women considering an abortion that life begins at conception and an unborn baby feels intense pain during the abortion.
The measure needed a Senate vote before March 14 or would die for the legislative sess.
“Since the end of the session much finger-pointing has occurred to try to shift the blame for the defeat of this legislation, but the buck stops with Senator Garton,” Mike Fichter, chairman of the Indiana Right to Life PAC, said at the time.
Fichter’s groups targeted Garton in Tuesday’s primary and supported Columbus accountant Greg Walker, a political newcomer who said Garton had served too long.
Walker had about 58 percent of the vote last night with more than half of the precincts reporting.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Garton indirectly credited Indiana Right to Life for engineering his defeat.
"I’m convinced organizations win elections and candidates lose them," Garton told reporters last night. "And this candidate lost it."
"There’s been a lot of shoe leather," Walker told The Indianapolis Star yesterday about his election victory. "It’s been through word of mouth, with a great volunteer effort."
About the abortion legislation, Garton told the Associated Press that the Senate had a long list of bills to consider in a short period of time before the deadline. He said the abortion bill was on the list but legislators ran out of time for more debate and votes on it and other measures.
Still, Fichter said Garton should have made the abortion bill a priority and held a debate and vote ahead of other measures.
Fichter said Garton "went out of his way to placate a group of over one dozen moderates in the Republican Senate caucus to do everything within their power to kill this legislation."
The state House previously approved the measure on a bipartisan 75 to 23 vote and Republican Senator Jeff Drozda, who sponsored it in the Senate, indicated he would try again next year.
Next year, Republican lawmakers who stand in the way of the bill’s passage better look out if they’re up for re-election in 2008.
Related web sites:
Indiana Right to Life – https://www.indianalife.org