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· October 26, 2012

Debate recap: how do Brown, Mandel compare on reproductive choice?

Last night concluded the series of three debates between Ohio’s candidates for Senate, incumbent Sherrod Brown and challenger Josh Mandel. We listened carefully to their answers to questions on reproductive choice. In the first debate (video), when asked about Roe v. Wade, Josh Mandel answered that his role as U.S. Senator would be to vote on the nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court, saying he would do “anything he can to protect innocent life.” He then pivoted to jobs. Senator Brown’s answer was: “Unlike Josh Mandel, I trust Ohio women to make their own healthcare decisions.” The Senator then called Mandel “extreme” for his position of refusing to allow for an abortion even in the case of rape or incest. The question of which exceptions Mandel supports has come to the forefront in the past week, as exceptions for rape became a national talking point after controversial comments by a Senate candidate in Indiana. In comments to reporters (video) on Wednesday, Mandel affirmed that he opposed abortion even for victims of rape, but indicated he would allow them in cases where a woman’s life is at stake. This is a change in position from January, when Mandel answered an Ohio Right to Life questionnaire (view) saying that he opposed abortion in all cases, without exception. Last night, in the third of the candidate debates (video), Mandel reaffirmed his position that only in cases where a woman’s life is at risk, should abortion be allowed. He then suggested he would work as a Senator to improve our national adoption laws, presumably as the only legal alternative for victims of rape and incest. Brown again stated that “Unlike Josh Mandel, I trust Ohio women to make their own decisions about their healthcare, period.”    

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