by Steven Ertelt
October 5, 2007
Frankfort, KY (LifeNews.com) — Kentucky’s gubernatorial candidates, abortion advocate Steve Beshear and pro-life Gov. Ernie Fletcher, debated the issue of abortion on Wednesday in a televised debate. Beshear, a Democrat, tried to play down his pro-abortion views in a state that is strongly pro-life, regardless of political party.
Kentucky is one of just handful of states to have significant off-year elections this year.
"Abortion is a tragedy anytime it happens, under any circumstances, and as governor, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that women have choices other than that," Beshear said in the debate.
He said abortions should be left up to women and that state government should not have any input on whether abortions are legal or if any limits should be put in place.
Fletcher, an ordained Baptist minister, said he opposes abortion. He is a physician who, as a member of Congress, compiled a strongly pro-life voting record.
He opposes abortion, even in the very rare cases of when the mother is a victim of rape and incest. He says that the value of human life doesn’t diminish because of the awful crime of sexual abuse.
"I caution everyone to think about the innocent life involved regardless of the situation," Fletcher said. "The real premise is I believe in the sanctity of life."
Michael Janocik, assistant director of the Kentucky Right to Life Association, told the Associated Press that abortion is normally such a big issue for voters there that pro-abortion candidates try to hide the extreme nature of their views.
"It’s rare that a political candidate in Kentucky will proudly carry the banner of being pro-choice," he said. "It’s just not very popular in Kentucky."
Fletcher had the pro-life group’s endorsement in the primary election and the group has warned pro-life voters about Beshear’s pro-abortion views.
Fletcher had a 100 percent pro-life voting record while in Congress and, as governor, continued that by signing a bill in 2004 that would protect pregnant women like Laci Peterson and their unborn children from violence.
"I have worked to create a culture of life in Frankfort, by working to protect all children, both born and unborn," Fletcher has said about his record.
Beshear served four years as lieutenant governor during the 1980s in the Martha Layne Collins administration, and lost a race for governor in 1987. He has also served as the state’s attorney general.
Fletcher ended up getting 50 percent of the vote in the three-way GOP primary while Beshear won the Democratic nomination with 41 percent of the vote after facing multiple candidates.
The debate aired on WCPO-TV in Cincinnati, WKYT-TV in Lexington and WAVE-TV in Louisville.
Polls show Beshear leading by 17 to 20 percentage points because of ethics issues during the Fletcher administration, but the governor and pro-life groups hope the issue of abortion will help cut the gap.
Related web sites:
Kentucky Right to Life – https://www.krla.org