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Oct. 24, 2002
NJ Senate Race Highlights Some Pro-Lifers’ Political Folly  
Both Republican Pro-Choice Coalition and National Right to Life Endorse Forrester

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Doug Forrester is not pro-life. Republicans in New Jersey know this. When the race was between incumbent Senator Bob Torricelli who was burdened by charges of ethical impropriety, it looked like Forrester might be able to overcome him. Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum was one of the first to endorse Forrester, saying that he had agreed to support Santorum’s efforts to pass a ban on partial-birth abortions, unless the life of the mother is in danger. Never mind the fact that a partial-birth abortion is never medically necessary, or the unfortunate fact that the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act isn’t a real ban because it contains a loophole. It was enough, in the desperate attempt to restore the Senate to Republican control, for the pro-life Senator to embrace the pro-choice New Jersey Republican nominee and try to sell him as “pro-life.”

When Torricelli withdrew from the race, replaced with retired Senator Frank Lautenberg, a pro-abortion liberal, Forrester’s numbers started to drop and National Right to Life Committee put out a comparison piece asking pro-life voters to “Vote against Frank Lautenberg – Vote for Doug Forrester” for U.S. Senate. They said Forrester “supports banning partial-birth abortion unless the life of the mother is in danger,” “opposes using your tax dollars to pay for abortion” and “favors requiring parental notice before an abortion is performed on a minor.” The expectation that Forrester, if elected, would support President Bush’s nominees to the federal judiciary, an expectation derived from nothing beyond his simply being a Republican without a record, seems to be the reason behind these endorsements by pro-lifers of a candidate who is not pro-life.

Polls began to indicate a loss of support for Forrester among women. The pro-abortion RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) who run New Jersey Republican politics went into action.

A 10/17/02 Associated Press story by Kathy Hennessy reported that, “Forrester says Frank Lautenberg has distorted his position on abortion, trying to paint him as a conservative who opposes a woman’s right to choose.” “I believe a woman’s right to choose is something that needs to be respected, and that’s why I say I’m pro-choice.”

On Tuesday, October 22, 2002, the Republican Pro-Choice Coalition issued a press release announcing its “endorsement of Doug Forrester in his New Jersey campaign bid for the United States Senate.” Co-Chair of the Coalition, Jennifer Stockman, said, “We are very pleased to provide our Coalition and PAC endorsement for Doug Forrester in this tightly contested Senate race. After personally meeting with the candidate and gaining full clarification of his positions on reproductive health issues, it is clear that Forrester is strongly pro-choice and will be a true asset in the Senate to all of us.”

The release goes on: “Forrester has assured us in writing that he opposes reversing Roe v. Wade and would vote against any Supreme Court nominee who indicated a desire to do so. That is the commitment we all needed to pledge our wholehearted support of his candidacy.” [So much for supporting some of Bush’s judicial nominees.]

“There has been some confusion throughout this campaign regarding Forrester’s stand on Medicaid funding for abortion. He has reiterated to the Coalition his support of Medicaid funding for medically necessary abortions. According to Forrester, if elected, he would work to expand the current Hyde Amendment to include the health provision.” [So much for opposing taxpayer funding of abortion.]

The release concludes, “In addition to Forrester’s support of Roe v. Wade, Forrester made it clear that he hopes to help set a new tone in the GOP. He recently stated that he will work with the New Jersey Republican Congressional delegation to include pro-choice language in the Platform of the Republican National Convention.” For pro-life Republicans, those are fighting words!

From the perspective of those who have worked tirelessly through the political process to elect people to public office who respect the sanctity of every innocent human life, there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between Frank Lautenberg and Doug Forrester. Placing party over principle and lowering the pro-life standard for reasons of political expediency has never moved the pro-life ball down the public policy court. The Forrester debacle is a clear illustration of that fact.

“If, to please the people, we offer what we ourselves disapprove, how can we afterward defend our work? Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair. The event is in the hand of God.” George Washington at the Constitutional Convention, 1787.

Republican National
Coalition for Life

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