What's Your Position On Abortion?

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I'm running as a Republican, so I was not surprised to be asked this question. Abortion has become the most contentious and divisive of all political issues. 

As a centrist, my desire is to help people find common-ground or, at least, find a way to have a reasoned and civil discussion of the issue. 

I'll begin by discussing some basic truths.

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Abortion, along with birth rates and unintended pregnancy, has been declining, for decades. The most recent data shows the abortion rate has fallen to historic lows. The cause of this huge drop in abortion is the availability of better contraceptives.   

Rule of Law

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In 1974 the conservative Supreme Court in the Roe v. Wade decision effectively legalized first trimester abortion in the United States. Unless Roe v. Wade is overturned, laws restricting or denying women their right to an abortion is unconstitutional.  It is also counterintuitive to restrict access to abortion since study after study shows such restrictions are ineffective in lowering abortion rates. It makes more sense to get behind successful practices like expanding access to long-term contraceptives and family-planning information. 

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Public View

Pew regularly surveys public opinion on Roe v. Wade. The public has accepted the legality of first trimester abortion and that public acceptance has grown stronger over time. Consequently there is no political will to attempt criminalization of abortion.  It would be political suicide for any party that succeeded in reversing Roe v. Wade.

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I am personally opposed to abortion as a form of contraception but understand criminalization is not a deterrent, can result in unhealthy outcomes, and does not have public support. Therefore, I am an a strong advocate of public programs to expand access to long-term contraceptives and family-planning information. A responsible, compassionate society would do everything reasonably possible to help women avoid unintended pregnancy and support the health, welfare, and education of all children.