Abortion has entered the advertising war in Missouri's
U.S. Senate race. Pro-life U.S. Senator John Ashcroft (R-MO) and
pro-abortion Gov. Mel Carnahan (D-MO) have spent thousands of dollars to
advertise their records on various political isues, but until recently
they had avoided the volatile issue of abortion.
That changed this week with an Ashcroft radio ad in which he says Carnahan
"refused to show mercy for innocent life" when he vetoed partial-birth
abortion bans in 1997 and 1999.
Thus far, the higher-profile television ads of both candidates have been
silent on an issue that has consumed Missouri politics for years and one
in which the two men are at opposite ends of the political spectrum.
Carnahan's 1999 veto of a partial-birth abortion ban was overturned by a
Democrat-controlled General Assembly, making him the first governor since
1980 to suffer a veto override.
Republican incumbent Ashcroft, on the other hand, is firmly pro-life. In
1998, he co-sponsored a Constitutional amendment that would have protected
the right to life.
Both men have been labelled extremists on the issue by opponents, but a
Carnahan spokeswoman said that neither has to make their views clear in
the latest campaign.
"The reason a lot of people havent been talking about it is everyone knows
where these two guys stand on this issue," Sara Howard said. "People know
where they stand, and people arent going to make their decisions based on
that issue. The people that are going to make their decisions on that
issue have already made their decisions."
Ashcroft spokesman David James said abortion hasnt been downplayed by
Ashcroft. "All issues are important in this race," James said.
Political action committees on both sides have weighed in with support of
Ashcroft received two donations from the National Right to Life Political
Action Committee: $1,000 on March 11, 1999; $1,000 on Oct. 18, 1999.
Carnahan received the following donations from the National Abortion &
Reproductive Rights Action League PAC: $1,000 on April 29, 1999; $4,000 on
June 25, 1999; $1,500 on Dec. 9, 1999; $3,500 on Feb. 24, 2000.
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