By Lucy Panza, DC Policy Intern
In a recent interview, Nevada Republican candidate for Senate Sharron Angle made a rather inconvenient blunder. She dug herself into a pretty deep hole with her explanation of why pregnant survivors of rape and incest should not be able to access abortion. As the Huffington Post reports:
[Interviewer Alan Stock]: What do you say then to a young girl, I am going to place it as [a previous interviewer] said it, when a young girl is raped by her father, let’s say, and she is pregnant. How do you explain this to her in terms of wanting her to go through the process of having the baby?
Angle: I think that two wrongs don’t make a right. And I have been in the situation of counseling young girls, not 13 but 15, who have had very at risk, difficult pregnancies. And my counsel was to look for some alternatives, which they did. And they found that they had made what was really a lemon situation into lemonade. Well one girl in particular moved in with the adoptive parents of her child, and they both were adopted. Both of them grew up, one graduated from high school, the other had parents that loved her and she also graduated from high school. And I’ll tell you the little girl who was born from that very poor situation came to me when she was 13 and said ‘I know what you did thank you for saving my life.’ So it is meaningful to me to err on the side of life.
Angle’s remarks are equally inflammatory and important. They are important because, first, they demonstrate the candidate’s extreme views on abortion restrictions in a context where women and girls arguably need abortion care the most. Second, these remarks are important for the lack of a Democratic response from incumbent Senator Harry Reid’s campaign. Granted, Reid’s campaign website has a news page devoted to Angle’s radical opposition to women’s health. But that does not lessen the significance of how Reid will respond this time around. Despite Reid’s own conservative views on abortion rights, he and his advisers must come up with a statement that places him in stark contrast to Angle’s extremely insensitive and alarming position which, if she is elected, will jeopardize the health of women and girls. This should not be a difficult or controversial task.
This incident is also telling for what it says about women in Nevada during this election cycle. There are approximately 260,000 Latinas living in Nevada, and about 1,300,000 women in the state total. Given Angle’s comments, there is no reason that she should get a single one of them to vote for her. Even anti-choice women will hopefully understand that such extreme views endanger the health and lives of survivors of rape and incest, and that is unacceptable in a candidate for federal office.
We must ask, “Since when is it OK for a woman candidate in a federal election to favor such utterly insensitive and unconstitutional policies? And if I know someone who is planning to vote for Angle, who currently leads Reid in the polls 46% to 40%, what does that say about that person’s respect for women’s rights? And if I don’t speak out against something like this, what does that say about my respect for women’s rights?”
By Lucy Panza, DC Policy Intern