US Senate race and the issue of abortion

Friday, October 29th 2004, 10:26 am
By: News On 6

Some of the most heated issues of the race for US Senate involve women and children. Congressman Brad Carson is accusing Dr Tom Coburn of supporting abortion; while Right to Life groups say Carson is sounding pro-life to get votes.

And there's a new wrinkle in the old claim that Coburn tied a woman's tubes without permission. News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan has more in this campaign 2004 update.

The allegation that Doctor Coburn sterilized a woman against her wishes continues to be part of the Carson campaign. Announcer: "As a doctor, Coburn sterilized an underage girl without her consent." The courts dismissed Angela Plummer's malpractice suit against Coburn a dozen years ago.

Plummer's mother testified back then she asked Coburn to do the procedure, but now says Coburn shouldn't have listened. Shirl Vick, Angela Plummer’s mother: “my story hasn't changed, I do not support Coburn's version of what is being said, He did sterilize her that night, I did give consent, but it wasn't my consent to give.”

Plummer was 20 and already had 2 children at the time. She denies asking Coburn to tie the tube so she couldn't get pregnant again. Coburn, and his assistants, says Plummer begged him to do it.

At the same time Brad Carson is under fire for waffling on abortion. “I'm for allowing abortion in cases of rape, incest, or life of the mother, these labels; I don't know what they mean, what is that position? Characterize it as you will.”

Because Carson doesn't want Roe vs. Wade overturned, his critics characterize him as pro-choice. National Right to Life vice president Tony Lauinger: “when he implies he's against abortion, it flies in the face of the facts, of his record, his votes, and his support for the Roe vs. Wade decision which legalized abortion on demand.”

And now, Right to Life supporters are outraged at Carson's radio ads that accuse Coburn of supporting abortion. Announcer: "In Congress Tom Coburn voted to spend taxpayer dollars for abortions…And Tom Coburn is the only person in this race to have personally committed abortions."

Lauinger says Coburn has a perfect pro-life record, and blames Carson for trying to muddy the water on which candidate is more pro-life.