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Tennessee Elections – A Round-Up of State House and Senate Candidates Who Don’t Believe in a Rape/Incest Exceptions for Abortion

October 29, 2012

The Tennessee Eagle Forum isn’t exactly known as a moderate organization – their current newsletter has a pretty big section trying to drum up fear that the White House is being by Islam, a not-exactly-subtle attempt to gain support by stoking fears of Muslims.

Nevertheless, the organization does put out a questionnaire to political candidates each year, and some of those candidates respond.

Among the questions is this (#26):
An unborn child as a fundamental individual right to life; therefore, abortion should be prohibited except to save the life of the mother.

Now, I mentioned on Sunday that I think rape exceptions are actually hypocritical from a purely pro-life standpoint. However, most people in the United States are probably not as militantly pro-choice as I am, and most seem to support the idea that women who are raped should not then be forced to carry a resulting pregnancy to term. I get that, I really do – if *all* the access we can get is a rape/life exception, then of course I want that exception – I just don’t think it should be necessary in the first place, because abortion decisions should be left to individual women – not to politicians to decide whether those women have suffered enough already.

With that in mind, the following state Senate and House candidates for the Tennessee legislature agreed that they would make no exceptions for abortion for rape or incest, but would only allow for abortion when a woman’s life is in jeopardy:

State Senate Candidates:
District 2 – Scott Hughes
District 8 – Frank Nicely, Cynthia Jackson, Jeffrey Brantley
District 12 – Ken Yager
District 16 – Ron Stoltzfus, Rod McClellan, Janice Bowling
District 18 – Ferrell Haile, Brock Ewell, Tony Allers
District 20 – Rob Mortensen, David Hall, Steve Dickerson
District 22 – Mark Green
District 24 – John Stevens
District 28 – Joey Hensley, Dean Dickey
District 32 – Mark Norris

State House Candidates:
District 1 – Jon Lundberg
District 2 – Tony Shipley
District 3 – Kevin Parson, Karen Morrell, Timothy Hill
District 5 – Ted Hensley
District 7 – Matthew Hill
District 8 – Art Swann
District 10 – Don Miller, Tilman Goings
District 11 – Jeremy Faison
District 12 – Richard Montgomery
District 13 – Vanderbilt Brabson
District 17 – Roger Griffith, Larry Boggs
District 18 – Steve Hall
District 25 – Cameron Sexton
District 27 – Richard Floyd
District 30 – Vince Dean, Bryan White
District 31 – Jim Cobb
District 34 – Rick Womick
District 36 – Dennis Powers
District 37 – Richard Garvin (Dawn White responded that she would make rape/incest exceptions)
District 38 – Kelly Keisling
District 39 – David Alexander
District 40 – Terri Lynn Weaver
District 41 – Bobby Stewart
District 43 – Derrick Waggoner
District 44 – William Lamberth
District 45 – Courtney Rogers, Debra Maggart
District 46 – Mark Pody
District 47 – Judd Matheny
District 49 – Mike Sparks
District 50 – Dave Hall, DJ Farris
District 52 – Daniel Lewis
District 53 – Ben Claybaker
District 56 – Beth Harwell
District 57 – Susan Lynn, Linda Elam
District 59 – Robert Duvall, Jim Gotto
District 61 – Charles Sargent, Rob Hathaway
District 64 – Sheila Butt
District 65 – Jeremy Durham
District 66 – Josh Evans (Lee Harrell “would consider rape an exception”)
District 69 – Joh-Roh Sloan, Kenneth Buser
District 70 – Barry Doss, Calvin Moore
District 71 – Shirley Curry (Vance Dennis disagreed with this item)
District 74 – Nick Steward, Lauri Day
District 78 – John Paul Wood, Jr., Lynn Ray, Mary Littleton, Gary Allen Binkley, Rick Wilson
District 79 – Curtis Halform
District 81 – Debra Moody, Roy Bricco
District 83 – Mark White
District 88 – Harry Barber
District 89 – Joey McCulley, Roger Kane, Tim Hutchinson
District 92 – Travis Monroe
District 96 – Steve McManus, Jim Harrell

Don’t think that those who didn’t say yes to this question are necessarily more moderate or reasonable on abortion. They simply didn’t return the questionnaire, with the exception of District 22 Democratic Senate candidate Tim Barnes, who returned the survey and disagreed with this item. District 71 Republican Candidate Vance Dennis also disagreed with this item.

Keep in mind that the state legislature is where many important day to day restrictions get made.

If you don’t know your district numbers, use the Find My Legislator tool on the Tennessee General Assembly website. It’s meant to find your current state Senator and Representative, but that will also tell you what district you’re in.

This is not a moderate position. These are not moderate candidates. These are candidates who explicitly agree that abortion access should be so severely restricted, even women who are raped should not be able to choose abortion. Logically consistent? Perhaps. Repugnant if you have even an inkling that women are independent beings who can make their own decisions? And should not have their abortion options so severely limited that they have to be dying to get one? You betcha.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. thelastdemocrat permalink
    October 30, 2012 7:29 am

    I think it is in Irving’s ‘Prayer for Owen Meany,’ where a rape victim had her tongue cut by the rapist to silence her. If medical care can somehow re-attach or replace her tongue, that is great.

    However, no one is claiming she has a “right” to a tongue, and therefore that her tongue necessarily needs to get replaced. How?

    A bad thing happened, and she was forever transformed. Her plight in life was to carry on wit the best life she can, after that terrible experience. The rest of society can help: do what can be done to find and prosecute that rapist, same for other rapists, do what can be done to reduce rape, and advocate for such things. In the book, there is an advocacy group where some extreme advocates cut out their own tongue to demonstrate support of actions to help this and other rape victims. Good on ya. Like those who shave their heads to support a cancer patient who has lost hair due to chemotherapy.

    But the tongue is gone.

    There is rarely a good reason to kill a baby. Whether already born or not yet born. We do it because we can. The not-yet-born fit the classic defintion of a protected class. Hisotrically discriminated against? Check. Highly visible or identifiable? This identifying characteristic does not prevent them from contributing to society? Check. Powerless to protect themselves via civic/political avenues? Check.

    Out of our own selfishness, we come up with a bunch of reasons, hypotheticals, justifications, etc. But this is simply a civil rights and human rights issue that will eventually be apparent to us a time progresses.

    We can play along and drum up more convoluted arguments now, or get on board.

    There were, and remain, plenty of arguments about why women should not be fully participating citizens in society. Why slavery is OK. Etc. Society marches on and recognizes the wrong in these civil rights and human rights issues.

    Abortion will be the same. It is tragic that a rape happens. It is a tragedy if a child is conceived out of rape. It happens. But the baby is the innocent victim. how is cutting them down in the prime of their life going to make us a more humane, just society?

    Rather, we just reinforc the idea of some people being more equal than others, and some issues being worthy while others aren’t.

    We need a lot of progress in the law and in the public attitude toward rape. The raped woman has relatively low power, and so we blame her for bringing an unsavory issue into our lives. We use social forces to silence her. To blame her.

    This is about power.

    There is no right to kill one person because they may, or will, remind a rape victim of being raped.

    One person’s rape story I know has an association with a certain iconic kitchen product. That woman can avoid buying that brand, and can hurry past that section of the grocery store. But the product is out there and its packaging and marketing is too iconic to change.

    There will always be a reiminder. A child is a very profound reminder. The reminder effect will be varied across women. I kow women who dearly love their child, who is also their brother, since both share the same father. There are abortion advocates who were conceived in rape. Having gained an opportunity to exercise political power and enjoy civil rights, they now are public speakers against rape – the innocent, voiceless victims eventually get a voice.

    Finally, our legal abortion system aids these men who are committing rape and incest. These guys -including pimps – not cartoon halloween ‘pimps’ or dressed-up rappers, but genuine pimps – are happy to have an ally in the abortion business. We are working in our society on legitimizing pimps – pimp my ride, pimp my wedding, etc., but we cannot bring uorselves to legitimize the tragey of rape, and we cannot bring ourselves to legitimize te child conceved in rape – go away, child, you make us uncomfortable.

    • October 30, 2012 7:35 am

      last democrat, I’ve written a ton of times here about why I’m pro-choice – you’re welcome to go read them. In particular, try http://womenshealthnews.wordpress.com/2008/01/22/blog-for-choice-day-2008/
      If you think legal abortion is a bigger aid to rape perpetrators that the actual legal system and society and media that blames and ignores victims, you’re wildly incorrect about what actually props up rape in our society. Also, to call abortion selfishness, and not call forcing a woman to use her own body to sustain someone else’s life because you think she should selfish is severely problematic.

  2. October 30, 2012 4:53 pm

    I love “small government” conservatives. They want government so small it can fit inside my uterus.

    Look, the “small government” position is that GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT MAKE THIS DECISION. People should. End of discussion.

  3. January 13, 2013 11:21 am

    it’s the women’s body. Let her decide what’s best for her.

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