Candidates, tell voters clearly and fully where you stand on abortion

Published July 21, 2022

By Capitol Broadcasting Company

State Senate Leader Phil Berger offered North Carolina voters a bit of good advice, in response to a question from a reporter. Voters need to take his admonition to heart.

Voters would like to know where Republicans stand on abortion relative to North Carolina law.

“I would suggest that folks ask the candidates that are in their district,” Berger, a Republican from Rockingham County, responded.

It is a question every candidate for the General Assembly should be asked and one that every candidate – regardless of political affiliation – should answer in full and complete detail.

Berger, who has declared himself “committed to the right to life,” didn’t offer much clarity when he had the chance. His meandering reply said there “should be an exception” for rape or incest. He vaguely referenced some European nations with a “period of time post conception where the mother should have some autonomy.” He said there needed to be “some conversation about the point when “society and the law should have a role in protecting the life of the fetus.

There are at least five legislators on the record and unequivocal about their opposition to abortion, no matter the circumstances. They are the sponsors of House Bill 158 – an amendment to the State Constitution declaring life starts at fertilization and that anyone who willfully tries or destroys a life is accountable for attempted murder. Four of the five sponsors – Republicans Mark Brody of Union County, Jay Adams of Catawba County, George Cleveland of Onslow County and Keith Kidwell of Beaufort County – are seeking re-election.

Most Democratic candidates, including incumbents, have declared their support – at a minimum -- for laws that affirm the state’s current abortion laws and support for the standard in Roe v. Wade – essentially leaving the decision to the woman during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Voters need to demand and end equivocations and vagaries, like those offered up by Berger. On one hand Berger says he wants some period of “autonomy” for woman. But then, just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, said: “Senate Republicans will determine whether other steps are appropriate to strengthen our pro-life laws.” Further, Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore demanded that state Attorney General Josh Stein “take all necessary actions to lift the injunction currently barring full enforcement of our state’s abortion restrictions.”

This is no time for vague sloganeering that offers pacification to the partisan base while hiding specifics from more skeptical voters.

It is unfair and insulting to the intelligence of the electorate.

Candidates for the state legislature and Congress, tell voters BEFORE the election – not after the votes are counted – what to expect. No surprises, no ambushes.

Where do you stand on Roe v. Wade? What are the rights of women in making critical decisions concerning their health and life?