Republican Presidential Candidates Discuss Abortion Rights

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Abortion Rights

Nine candidates for the Republican presidential nomination on Sundaydiscussed their views on abortion rights and other issues in atelevised debate held at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, the Washington Post reports (Shear, Washington Post, 8/6). The 90-minute debate -- which aired on ABC's "This Week"and was moderated by the program's host, George Stephanopoulos --"highlighted differences among the candidates on the issues of healthcare, abortion" and other global concerns, the New York Times reports. According to the New York Times,Iowa has been "teeming with activity by Republicans" during the pastweek in preparation for the debate and the upcoming Republican strawpoll in Ames, Iowa (Nagourney/Cooper, New York Times, 8/6).

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The debate began with an exchange between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- who has been criticized for changing his views on abortion rights -- and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), the Los Angeles Timesreports. Brownback's campaign in recent weeks has left automated phonemessages that target Romney's campaign with Iowa Republicans (Braun, Los Angeles Times,8/6). "Mitt Romney is telling Iowans he is firmly pro-life," theBrownback campaign's phone message says, adding, "Nothing could befurther from the truth." The message also notes that Romney's wife,Ann, has "contributed money to Planned Parenthood." Romney spokespersonTim Albrecht called the phone messages "despicable" and "negative,"adding that the campaign "should apologize to Ann Romney and GovernorRomney for this personal attack" (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 7/25).

Brownbackdefended the calls in the debate, saying, "There's one word thatdescribes that ad, and it's 'truthful.'" Romney said, "I never said Iwas pro-choice, but my position was effectively pro-choice." He added,"I've said that time and time again. I changed my position" (New York Times,8/6). Romney said that he gets "tired of people that are holier thanthou because they've been pro-life longer than" he has. According tothe Washington Times, polls indicate that Romney is the leading Republican presidential candidate (Dinan, Washington Times, 8/6).

In addition, former HHS Secretary Tommy Thompsonduring the debate pledged to "end breast cancer by the year 2015 forall the women in America." He noted that his mother, wife and daughterall have been diagnosed with the disease (Washington Post, 8/6).
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Reprinted with permission fromkaisernetwork.org.You can view the entire KaiserDaily Women's Health Policy Report, search thearchives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report is published forkaisernetwork.org,a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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