Rep. Dennis Kucinich submitted the following statement upon NARAL Pro-Choice America's request.
"The most personal, and often the most difficult decision a woman can make is the decision to terminate her pregnancy. Though not an easy choice, it is a legally guaranteed and protected one. And it should remain so.
"There is no denying the fact that most Americans are uncomfortable with abortions and feel there are too many of them. At the same time, the vast majority of Americans recognize that there are circumstances in which a woman and her doctor should be allowed to make this decision without government intervention.
"I have opposed and will continue to oppose any legislation that erodes or undermines the right of a woman to exercise her reproductive rights. And, I have supported measures to address the epidemic of teen pregnancy, improve sex education, and provide greater access to birth control to reduce unintended pregnancies.
"Finally, while it is important to continue protecting the right to choose, it is also important to institute new and expanded policies and programs that improve our nation's economic situation, our educational system, and our health insurance and health care delivery systems in ways that will make the right to choose one that is exercised less often."
Rep. Kucinich received the following scores on NARAL Pro-Choice America's Congressional Record on Choice.
Public Statements about Choice:
A selection of Rep. Kucinich's public statements on this issue is below.
"I don't believe in abortions, few do…. I do, however, believe in choice…. I'm not going to go over every piece of legislation. But you can expect that I am going to continue to take a thoughtful approach, and that doesn't preclude the poor from having the government support their right to choose."
[Mark Sandalow, Ohio Presidential Hopeful Pivots Over to Pro-Choice camp; Ex Abortion Foe Kucinich Defends Move, San Francisco Chronicle, February 23, 2003.]
"And we also need to listen carefully to those who are concerned about abortion. At the same time, a healer as president would help to reconcile this nation, and cause a woman's right to privacy to be protected unquestioningly, protect Roe v. Wade, but also go out and listen to people and engage people and open their hearts – because this is an issue that requires an enormous amount of compassion, and that's the approach I would take."
[Transcript from Democratic Debate in South Carolina, MSNBC, April 26, 2007.]
"What the Supreme Court did was quite invasive of that very sacred sphere of a woman's health and privacy… But if our society is truly committed to life, then all of us need to close ranks behind a program which will show real concern for life. And that includes prenatal care, postnatal care, child care, a living wage, universal health care -- and the end of war,' he said. 'Then we will have achieved a much more tolerable expression of support for life than the Supreme Court did.'"
[Carla Marinucci, Abortion Ruling Puts Candidates on the Spot, San Francisco Chronicle, April 22, 2007.]
Kucinich amassed one of the most stringent anti-abortion voting records during his time in Congress, but then changed his position when he began running for the presidency in 2003. Kucinich's record includes votes in favor of the "gag rule" which cuts off family planning aid to foreign countries and the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. He has voted against budget initiatives funding research into the abortion drug RU-486 and against healthcare coverage of contraception for federal employees. As The Nation put it in a 2002 profile, "In his two terms in Congress, he has quietly amassed an anti-choice voting record of Henry Hyde-like proportions." Kucinich's anti-choice record earned him a 95 percent from the National Right to Life Committee.
Yet when Kucinich launched his presidential campaign in 2003, he vowed to support a woman's right to choose and even told a crowd in Iowa that "as president, I would protect that right [to abortion], and I would also make sure that appointees to the Supreme Court protected that right."
In 1981 a Republican congressman declared:
Abortion on demand is the ultimate State tyranny; the State simply declares that certain classes of human beings are not persons, and therefore not entitled to the protection of the law. The State protects the "right" of some people to kill others, just as the courts protected the "property rights" of slave masters in their slaves. Moreover, by this method the State achieves a goal common to all totalitarian regimes: it sets us against each other, so that our energies are spent in the struggle between State-created classes, rather than in freeing all individuals from the State. Unlike Nazi Germany, which forcibly sent millions to the gas chambers (as well as forcing abortion and sterilization upon many more), the new regime has enlisted the assistance of millions of people to act as its agents in carrying out a program of mass murder.
The name of the congressman? Ron Paul. Yes, that Ron Paul, the long-shot GOP candidate for president running on a platform of pulling out of Iraq and slashing government spending. In 1981, he went on to argue, "Pro-life libertarians have a vital task to perform: to persuade the many abortion-supporting libertarians of the contradiction between abortion and individual liberty; and, to sever the mistaken connection in many minds between individual freedom and the 'right' to extinguish individual life."
Lest you think it's just a minor issue for him, consider the obscure fact that Paul has written not one but two books arguing for the necessity of a pro-life libertarianism: 1983's Abortion and Liberty and 1990's Challenge to Liberty: Coming to Grips with the Abortion Issue. And lest you think he has since changed his views on abortion, ponder what he's saying now. On June 4, 2003, speaking in the House of Representatives, Paul described "the rights of unborn people” as “the greatest moral issue of our time."
Other such quotes aren't hard to find. On March 29, 2005: " I believe beyond a doubt that a fetus is a human life deserving of legal protection, and that the right to life is the foundation of any moral society." Jan. 31, 2006: "The federalization of abortion law is based not on constitutional principles, but rather on a social and political construct created out of thin air by the Roe court." On that note, he has referred to a "federal court tyranny which threatens our constitutional republic and has caused the deaths of 45 million of the unborn." Just before the Ames straw poll, he came out with an Iowa ad touting his pro-life credentials, although in slightly more subdued terms: "I find it difficult not to defend a life a minute before birth just as I would defend that life a minute after birth. To me, it's recognizing the importance of life."
And for Paul, that's a deeply personal concern. His prior job as a doctor -- he has delivered over 4,000 babies -- plays an important role. In his New York Times Magazine profile of Paul, Christopher Caldwell writes: "He remembers seeing a late abortion performed during his residency, years before Roe v. Wade, and he maintains it left an impression on him. 'It was pretty dramatic for me,' he says, 'to see a two-and-a-half-pound baby taken out crying and breathing and put in a bucket.'"
Apparently it was dramatic enough to cause Paul to author H.R. 1094, a bill that declares that "human life shall be deemed to exist from conception," a standard Christian Right viewpoint. While Paul has written, "I have never been one who is comfortable talking about my faith in the political arena," this faith, in conjunction with his traumatic residency experience, seems to have left him deeply troubled by abortion in a way organizations like Focus on the Family would no doubt find familiar. "Many talk about being pro-life," Paul continued. "I have taken and will continue to advocate direct action to restore protection for the unborn."
But how to do this? Paul is also a fervent federalist, which puts him somewhat at odds with the über-pro-life movement that wants to abolish abortion rights nationwide. "I think we ought to return the issue to the states so that local opinions could better determine the specific regulations concerning this deeply personal issue," Paul said in an interview earlier this year. He previously argued that this is necessary to create "a pro-life culture," because federalization "has prevented the 50 states from enacting laws that more closely reflect the views of their citizens." Accepting this, he explained, means "we lost the ability to apply local community standards to ethical issues." On Nov. 17, 2005, he introduced H.R. 4379, the We the People Act, which would remove contested cultural issues like abortion from the jurisdiction of federal courts. On Feb. 6, 2006, the bill was referred to the Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet, and Intellectual Property. The congressional session ended without any further action.
Perhaps in part because of his stance on abortion, Paul has been referred to as a "selective libertarian." The Libertarian party's platform -- Paul was their 1988 candidate for president -- declares, "Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on both sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration." Kept out of the matter entirely? Sounds more pro-choice than a lot of Democrats and certainly out of step with Paul's professed views on the issue.
But maybe not. Not all government is created equal, it turns out. Shane Corey, executive director of the Libertarian National Committee, said in a phone interview, "Pro-life libertarians -- I'm one of them -- understand and feel that children in the womb should have the same rights and liberties that we enjoy." Pro-life and pro-choice libertarians ,Corey continued, agree that "it's not an issue for the federal government to address." The Libertarian party's official position is support of repealing Roe v. Wade and leaving abortion "remanded to the states." Paul's view, it happens, is pretty much the party line: It's okay to restrict abortion at the state level, just not the federal one. Respect for the rights of state government trumps the rights of women.
Ron Paul's staunch opposition to the Iraq War has won him surprising accolades from parts of the left frustrated with the Democratic party's resistance to removing the U.S. presence from Iraq. But even Paul's anti-war views aren't liberal. They're just old-fashioned isolationism. And when it comes to reproductive rights, sometimes it's hard to distinguish him from the broader Republican party he claims to fight so hard against. He may want to let states decide morality, but what happens when states decide to tell women they can't make their own decisions with their doctors? Just last year, South Dakota started down that path. Liberals were rightfully outraged, because they understand certain rights are too important to be subject to popular vote. But for Paul, if anti-choice conservatives in South Dakota had succeeded, it would have been considered a victory: one step toward creating a pro-life nation, not from the top down, but one community at a time.
Hillary has fought the relentless and insidious efforts by far-right Republicans to limit the protections of Roe v Wade, while also working hard to expand access to family planning services.
Hillary has seen what happens when governments try to control a woman's reproductive health decisions. Whether it was Romania under a dictatorship saying you had to have children for the good of the state or China saying you had to have only one child for the good of the state, governments have dictated the most private and important decisions that we as individuals or families can make.
She has championed the Prevention First Act, which expands access to family planning services for low-income women, requires health insurance companies to cover contraception, and provides a dedicated funding stream for age-appropriate, medically accurate, comprehensive sex education.
As First Lady, she helped pass the Family and Medical Leave Act and helped found the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancies, which established and achieved a goal of reducing teen pregnancies by one-third between 1996 and 2005.
In partnership with Senator Patty Murray, Hillary waged a successful three-year battle to get the Food and Drug Administration to accept the overwhelming recommendation of the medical community and make Plan B (the "morning after" pill) available over the counter.
Hillary's work to empower low-income women has changed lives. She fought for the elimination of school fees, which prevent poor children in some countries from attending school, and for investments in health care and education for women and girls. And she helped found Vital Voices, a not-for-profit organization that continues to work to support women's leadership around the globe.
Hillary has done some good things but I need to point out
that the main issues facing the country are the Iraq war, National Healthcare, unfair
trade policy, global warming.
Hillary abdicated her oath of office when she gave Bush the authority to wage preemptive war.
That is a violation of the constitution and Impeachable.
Any one of these Democrats who gave up their responsibility to declare war to that crazy man does not deserve any support and should be fired at the next election. There is no argument, which can deny the facts. We all have made mistakes but when an elected official fails to uphold the constitution in matters of life and death they have failed.
I like much of what Hillary has done and frankly I want to see more qualified women in senate and house positions but when it boils down to performance and the balance of how reps vote on the big issues vs. the wedge issues. They need to held accountable. Bill Clinton made huge mistakes, NAFTA, telecommunications and a variety of other policies which hurt the working class in America. I thank them for the good things they did but it does not make up for the huge mistakes that will have long-term affects on the American public.We need new fresh blood in the White house not the Clinton or Bush dynasty and history of Corporatocracy!
We are on the same side we just disagree on how to get there.
I agree that the war, lack of healthcare for many people and inadequete for many others are important issues. As are global warming and unfair trade.
The right to safe and legal abortions is now and will always be important to me. Hopefully, it will be to many other women as well. I hope I am wrong in saying this, but it seems to me women of my age and older are the ones I see fighting to keep choice an option. And for myself and others in my age group, well, pregnancy is not a concern. Freedom of choice is. I guess we just remember the bad old days which are testament to the fact if a women wants to end her pregnancy she will resorting to whatever means she deems necessary.