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by Tom Pauken    Thu, Jan 12, 2006, 02:26 PM

Chris Bell
Leading abortion-rights supporters in Texas announced their support yesterday for Chris Bell in the Democratic primary race for Governor. The signers of the endorsement letter included: Liz Carpenter, former LBJ aide; Sarah Weddington, attorney in the Roe v. Wade case; Molly Beth Malcolm, former Texas Democratic Chairman; "Sissy" Farenthold; and Peggy Romberg, former lobbyist for Planned Parenthood. (To read the full letter of endorsement from the 12 women advocates for abortion rights, click here. )

The letter attacked Bob Gammage, Bell’s major opponent, for voting on the pro-life side when he was a member of Congress. On his web site, Chris Bell compares Gammage’s votes on the abortion issue with the positions of Congressman Henry Hyde, the longtime leader of the pro-life forces in the U.S. House of Representatives (link here).

Gammage’s campaign was quick to respond by claiming that Bob Gammage was just as supportive of abortion rights as Chris Bell.

The dispute highlights one reason why the Democratic party has become a minority party in America. Being strongly in favor of abortion rights has become a litmus test for any Democrat aspiring to run for President or almost any Democrat who runs for statewide office. Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Dick Gephardt and Jesse Jackson originally were opposed to taxpayer funding of abortions. But, they all reversed their position on the abortion issue as they reached for higher office and as the Democratic position hardened on the abortion issue. Isn’t that the reason why Senate Democrats are giving Samuel Alito such a hard time – because they believe he is opposed to abortion?

Obviously, Chris Bell thinks this is an issue that works for him in his primary race against Gammage. And, Bob Gammage must think so too. Otherwise, his campaign would not have been so quick to say what a strong supporter of abortion rights Bob Gammage is these days.

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