On the eve of the Republican National Convention, I wrote about the GOP's "no-exceptions" platform opposing abortion. This plank is more stringent than the positions taken by Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and Rep. Mike Simpson, abortion opponents who make exceptions for cases of rape or incest, or pregnancies threatening the life of the mother.
The Democrats' plank on abortion is almost a 180 — and it's read, by critics, as an expression of support for taxpayer-funded abortions. "The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right. Abortion is an intensely personal decision between a woman, her family, her doctor, and her clergy; there is no place for politicians or government to get in the way. We also recognize that health care and education help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and thereby also reduce the need for abortions. We strongly and unequivocally support a woman’s decision to have a child by providing affordable health care and ensuring the availability of and access to programs that help women during pregnancy and after the birth of a child, including caring adoption programs."
Where do Idaho congressional candidates stand?
Nicole LeFavour, challenging Simpson, sent a brief, direct response. She said she supports the plank and calls it "well-stated."
Jimmy Farris, opposing 1st District Rep. Raul Labrador, issued this statement: "I do not disagree with the party platform; however, the feelings of the many female constituents that I meet as I travel the district are what are truly important to me. Some women would never have an abortion under any circumstances; others might choose to make that agonizing decision in the midst of a difficult situation. The very definition of freedom is that a woman can make that choice for herself without government intrusion – without choice there is no freedom."
Farris' measured statement shows a sharp distinction between these two candidates. Labrador supports abortion only when a mother’s life is in jeopardy.
I don't think abortion will be a focal point in the congressional races — not when the economy and federal debt should take precedence. But on this issue, the differences between the major candidates couldn't be more clear.