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Arkansas Senate Debate: Blanche Lincoln Attacks John Boozman on Abortion Vote

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Arkansas Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln took a swing at her Republican opponent Rep. John Boozman in a Friday afternoon debate. The issue: Boozman’s record on parental rights for rapists.

Part of the debate allowed the candidates to pose questions to each other. In her final question, Lincoln, who is down by 40 points in some polls, asked Boozman this:

“Congressman, you have voted to protect the rights of fathers who committed rape or incest against a minor that resulted in a pregnancy, to be able to sue the doctor who performed an abortion on that victim. Do you believe that the majority of Arkansas agree with your stance that the rights of rapists take priority of the rights of women who
they have assaulted?”

“I really don’t know what you’re talking about,” Boozman said.

He added that he had a 100 percent pro-life voting record. Boozman said he always allowed exceptions for rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. Boozman stressed that he has three daughters.

Boozman asked Lincoln what bill she was referring to in her question. Lincoln said she didn’t have the bill number but that her campaign research staff did.

“It would be nice if you are going to make accusations, if you bring it,” Boozman said.

The 2005 bill in question — H.R. 748, or the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act — passed the House of Representatives in April 2005. Boozman was a co-sponsor. The purpose was to make it a federal crime for any adult to transport an under-age girl across state lines to have an abortion “if this is done to evade a parental notification or parental consent law that is in effect in the girl’s home state,” Patrick Creamer, the Boozman campaign’s communications director, said in a statement. The bill never became law.

The Lincoln campaign alleged that Boozman voted against sending the parental notification bill back to committee for an amendment to bar certain fathers — those who committed rape or incest against a minor that resulted in a pregnancy — from being able to sue a doctor for performing an abortion on the minor.

In response, the Boozman campaign’s statement blasted Lincoln’s characterization of the congressman’s record.

“HR748 explicitly provided exceptions for cases where minors were the subject of sexual abuse or other physical abuse by a parent,” said Creamer. “Representative Jerry Nadler, a pro-abortion advocate in Congress, utilized a procedural tactic, on this same legislation, designed explicitly to delay and kill the bill. John Boozman opposed this maneuver that would have killed sound, prolife legislation. Blanche Lincoln’s efforts to paint Congressman Boozman as an advocate for ‘rapists rights’ are preposterous and shameful.”

Until Lincoln’s question, the debate focused on Boozman’s support of the fair tax and abolishment of the Internal Revenue Service, Lincoln’s health care vote and talking points from both sides about the deficit. Lincoln touted her position as chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Boozman argued against earmarks.

Former president Bill Clinton appeared in Arkansas this week with Lincoln for an event celebrating her one-year anniversary as chair of the Agriculture Committee and for a breakfast fundraiser. Boozman launched his first general election television ad this week. He was forced to tweak the commercial because the University of Arkansas thought some of the ad’s images violated copyright laws.

Lincoln’s abortion question returned to an issue that crippled Boozman’s late brother, Fay, in 1998 when he ran against Lincoln in her first United States senate bid. During his campaign, Fay Boozman said rape and incest victims seldom got pregnant because they had “God’s protective little shield” to prevent pregnancy. Lincoln won that race to become the youngest elected woman to serve in the Senate at age 38.

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Written by suziparker1313

March 8, 2011 at 9:14 pm

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