By Michelle Stranger-Hunter of Portland, Oregon. Michelle is the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon.
Some recent surveys are showing that a whopping 49 percent of Oregon's pro-choice voters support Senator Gordon Smith. I had to read that twice, there is something seriously wrong with this picture... 49 percent?!?!
While this news is mortifying on many levels, I'm most disturbed by the belief, held by some, that Senator Smith is a moderate, pro-choice senator. This is misinformation at its worst! I feel compelled to dispel these rumors and set the record straight: Senator Gordon Smith is not, and never has been, pro-choice.
With a Senate voting record that dates back to 1997, Senator Smith has voted with his anti-choice allies at least 80 percent of the time... and usually more. In nearly half of his years served, he scored a 0% rating from NARAL Pro-Choice America. Let's take a look at the worst votes Senator Smith took over the years:
- He voted against lifting the ban that forbids U.S. servicewomen from obtaining abortion services at overseas military hospitals with their own funds.
- He voted against legislation that would have prevented unintended pregnancy by investing in insurance coverage of prescription birth control, promoting family-planning services, implementing teen-pregnancy-prevention programs, and developing programs to increase awareness about emergency contraception.
- He repeatedly voted for (and cosponsored) the Federal Abortion Ban, a law that criminalizes some abortion services, with no exception to protect a woman's health, and carries up to a two-year prison sentence for doctors. (This ban was infamously upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court on April 18th, 2007.)
He's voted against birth control, but he wants us to consider him moderate? No way.
Any claims of being a “moderate” should be ignored, with respect to his pro-choice views, and in fact, the senator describes himself as “pro-life”: “I tell you, I believe I'm pro-life....”
Clearly, this man is willing to follow in lockstep with the Bush administration's divisive attacks on legal abortion while refusing to support measures that would actually prevent unintended pregnancy and reduce the need for abortion.
So as we head toward the 2008 elections, please forward this info to friends and family and anyone else who may be under the false impression that Smith is a moderate pro-choice senator.