Lincoln Chafee on Abortion
Democratic presidential challenger; Independent RI Governor; Republican Senator (1999-2007)
Believing in freedom, as we do, we don't think it's the role of government to pass judgment on a relationship between two consenting adults, regardless of their orientation. Believing in freedom, we believe a woman should make her own reproductive decisions.
One of our hundred delegates got down on his knees in the House chamber, clasped his hands, and beseeched us: Save the babies! Save the babies!
CHAFEE: I voted for a bill for federal funding. I believe it could help people with Parkinsonís, Alzheimerís, cancer, and spinal cord injury.
WHITEHOUSE: There should be federal subsidies for embryonic stem cell research because of its enormous promise. Itís outrageous that Bush has used this as its one veto; to try to eliminate this research is shameful. It shows the Republicans being driven by ideology rather than science.
CHAFEE: I have consistently voted against any federal attempt to ban womenís reproductive freedom & choices. If itís left to the states, then only wealthy women will have access to abortions, if they have the resources to travel, whereas poor women would have to resort to the old days of difficult decisions.
WHITEHOUSE: I am pro-choice. I firmly believe that family planning decisions should be private, and that thereís no role for government intrusion in those decisions. Roe v. Wade is the settled law of the land by almost any legal standard. But unfortunately what weíre seeing in Washington now, by Republicans, is a concerted & deliberate attempt to pack the Supreme Court with a particular ideology to try to undo rights that have been very long-settled, indeed settled by justices who were overwhelmingly appointed by Republican presidents. If Roe v. Wade is overturned I think those rights should be recognized at the state level.
CHAFEE: Every scientist is saying that the real potential is in the embryonic stem cells. Thatís where the real potential is for the cures for Alzheimerís, Parkinsonís, spinal cord injuries, and cancer. If the US does not fund that research, itís going to go elsewhere. Some other country is going to take advantage and be in the forefront of solving some of these diseases and curing some of these diseases. Many conservatives did vote for the stem cell bill. Laffey said he would vote against it, thatís hypocritical.
LAFFEY: Itís not hypocritical. I felt it was the wrong business lines. Senator Chafee mentioned one scientist. Itís not every scientist. Itís very few, quite frankly. In the end, the real progress will be made because the problem with embryonic stem cell research is the rejection rate that theyíre finding tumors and all kinds of problems in animals and rats and they havenít made it to humans yet and I donít think they will.
Proponents recommend voting YES because:
This bill deals with how young girls are being secretly taken across State lines for the purpose of abortion, without the consent of their parents or even the knowledge of their parents, in violation of the laws of the State in which they live. 45 states have enacted some sort of parental consent laws or parental notification law. By simply secreting a child across State lines, one can frustrate the State legislature's rules. It is subverting and defeating valid, constitutionally approved rights parents have.
Opponents recommend voting NO because:
Some States have parental consent laws, some don't. In my particular State, it has been voted down because my people feel that if you ask them, "Do they want their kids to come to their parents?", absolutely. But if you ask them, "Should you force them to do so, even in circumstances where there could be trouble that comes from that?", they say no.
This bill emanates from a desire that our children come to us when we have family matters, when our children are in trouble, that they not be fearful, that they not be afraid that they disappoint us, that they be open with us and loving toward us, and we toward them. This is what we want to have happen. The question is: Can Big Brother Federal Government force this on our families? That is where we will differ.
For over thirty years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has been the political arm of the pro-choice movement and a strong advocate of reproductive freedom and choice. NARAL Pro-Choice America's mission is to protect and preserve the right to choose while promoting policies and programs that improve women's health and make abortion less necessary. NARAL Pro-Choice America works to educate Americans and officeholders about reproductive rights and health issues and elect pro-choice candidates at all levels of government. The NARAL ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
Dear Mr. President:
We write to urge you to expand the current federal policy concerning embryonic stem cell research.
Embryonic stem cells have the potential to be used to treat and better understand deadly and disabling diseases and conditions that affect more than 100 million Americans, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, and many others.
We appreciate your words of support for the enormous potential of this research, and we know that you intended your policy to help promote this research to its fullest. As you know, the Administration's policy limits federal funding only to embryonic stem cells that were derived by August 9, 2001.
However, scientists have told us that since the policy went into effect more than two years ago, we have learned that the embryonic stem cell lines eligible for federal funding will not be suitable to effectively promote this research. We therefore feel it is essential to relax the restrictions in the current policy for this research to be fully explored.
Among the difficult challenges with the current policy are the following:
OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: Prohibits any federal funds from being provided to a hospital unless the hospital provides to women who are victims of sexual assault:
SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. CLINTON: This bill will help sexual assault survivors across the country get the medical care they need and deserve. It is hard to argue against this commonsense legislation. Rape--by definition--could never result in an intended pregnancy. Emergency contraception is a valuable tool that can prevent unintended pregnancy. This bill makes emergency contraception available for survivors of sexual assault at any hospital receiving public funds.
Every 2 minutes, a woman is sexually assaulted in the US, and each year, 25,000 to 32,000 women become pregnant as a result of rape or incest. 50% of those pregnancies end in abortion.
By providing access to emergency contraception, up to 95% of those unintended pregnancies could be prevented if emergency contraception is administered within the first 24 to 72 hours. In addition, emergency contraception could also give desperately needed peace of mind to women in crisis.
The FDA recently made EC available over the counter for women 18 years of age and older. Despite the ideologically driven agenda against this drug, the research has been consistently clear--this drug is safe and effective for preventing pregnancy. Women deserve access to EC. For millions of women, it represents peace of mind. For survivors of rape and sexual assault, it offers hope for healing and a tomorrow free of painful reminders of the past.
LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; never came to a vote.
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