The AG's race and abortion
|The issue of abortion is heating up in the race for attorney general in a series of press-releases fired off between the campaigns of Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown and Sen. Chuck Poochigian, R-Fresno.|
Little of the debate has made it past reporter's inboxes, but in down-ticket races, where candidates and campaigns try to settle on only one or two themes, the back-and-forth is likely instructive of where the debate is heading this fall.
The first release came from Camp Poochigian on June 26, when the campaign sent out an opinion piece by John Gizzi, in which he wrote:
Brown's penchant for flip-flopping is legendary. After spending time with Mother Teresa in the 1980s, he proclaimed that "the killing of the unborn is crazy" and wrote a letter seeking parole for an anti-abortion activist in prison after more than 130 arrests. But when he was running for state Democratic chairman in 1981, and came under fire from pro-abortion activists, he declared himself in favor of abortion.
On August 3, Brown's campaign sent out that they were endorsed by Planned Parenthood. They included the following quote from Kathy Kneer, president of Planned Parenthood:
“We support Jerry Brown for Attorney General because he will defend a woman’s right to choose in the face of challenges from extremists who are determined to overturn Roe v. Wade and return to the days of back alley abortions.”
“Unfortunately, it is clear that State Senator Chuck Poochigian cannot be trusted to uphold California law, including the Reproductive Privacy Act. Poochigian is so extreme that he wants to outlaw abortion for women who are the victims of rape or incest. He is truly out of touch with California voters. This is a pro-choice state where Californians consistently and overwhelmingly support upholding Roe v. Wade.”
That was followed by a missive from Brown campaign chief Ace Smith:
As Chuck trumpets such obvious endorsements as his Republican legislative colleagues on his website – there is one great omission. There is never a mention that he has been enthusiastically endorsed by the California Pro-Life Council – a group which loves him because Poochigian is in favor of outlawing abortion even in cases of rape and incest and because he is a staunch opponent of stem cell research.
Those comments didn't go over too well with Camp Poochigian, whose strategist Ken Kachigian responded
Mayor Jerry Brown's handlers recently flunked their abortion homework on two scores. First, with a false and malicious claim regarding the Senator's personal views and, second, by covering up the mayor's own hypocritically contortionist position.
Fact: Brown referenced a website questionnaire that Senator Poochigiannever completed in order to make his false claim. The website's organizers have been asked to remove any suggestions that Senator Poochigian "answered" a questionnaire that he never filled out and have acknowledged the same.
Fact: Senator Poochigian does not oppose abortion in the case of rape and incest. Period. To the contrary, he has always expressed great sympathy for the victims of these heartless crimes. In fact, Senator Poochigian co-authored the 2005 law that reversed a measure Jerry Brown signed in 1980 that had for nearly 25 years allowed child molesters who target their own family members to avoid consequences for their actions by pleading down to an incest charge. Senator Poochigian is also a co-chair of the "Jessica's Law" campaign, and has been an ardent supporter of strengthening California's laws on rapists and other sexual predators.
Team Brown followed with another statement from Kathy Kneer, "Poochigian needs to acknowledge his extreme anti-choice position."
I'm guessing that won't be the end of the debate, though it is probably not the issue Poochigian would most like to focus on. Rather, the recent increase in crime this year is Oakland is what they are trying to highlight, including in some web-only videos.
Remember, it is still only August.