Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Senate Candidates on Abortion

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Senate Candidates on Abortion

Article excerpt

IN THE RACE between U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez and state Sen. Joe Kyrillos, one clear difference in their stances has emerged concerning an important issue in the race for the seat Menendez now occupies: abortion rights.

The issue of reproductive rights should be particularly significant for voters casting their ballots for a U.S. Senate seat, as it is the Senate that molds policy on this issue more than any other entity except for the president.

Today the "law of the land" concerning abortion rights is decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, and it is the Senate that votes to confirm or reject presidential nominees to the high court. With a potential tenure in office of at least two dozen years (Menendez is 58, Kyrillos is 52), these candidates have the potential of shaping abortion rights law in the year 2025 and beyond.

So what are their stances on this issue?

Menendez's positions are rather clear. He is 100 percent pro- choice. He has earned a 100 percent approval rating by NARAL Pro- Choice America, a 0 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee, and his votes have consistently maintained the positions he has espoused. For example, he voted against the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, against the Ban on Partial-Birth/Late Term Abortion Act and voted for the Overseas Military Facilities Abortion Amendment.

In this campaign, he also has attempted to link his strong support of women's health care funding initiatives with the reproductive rights issue, and even tried to bundle his support of equal pay into the package of "women's issues."

But, of course, reproductive issues are not simply women's issues. Of course they matter to women, particularly younger women. But many of the most passionate activists surrounding this issue are men, particularly on the pro-life side of the issue.

Across the country, reproductive rights are a prime salient issue -- that is, they are the most important issue on which a voter bases his or her vote -- for about 12 percent of the voting population. But those 12 percent are roughly evenly divided -- about half are passionately pro-choice, the other passionately pro-life. …

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