NC-4 candidates differ on right-to-life issue

NC-4 candidates differ on right-to-life issue

By Harlan Brown
March 27, 2010

Being “pro-life” can mean different things to different people. Such is the case in North Carolina's Fourth Congressional District, where four pro-life Republicans are vying for the opportunity to challenge the pro-choice incumbent in November's general election.

On the right-to-life issue the GOP candidates are divided into two camps. Frank Roche, William (B.J.) Lawson, and George Hutchins take the position that Roe v. Wade should be overturned so that the states can decide the abortion issue. In the other camp is David Burnett, a former local leader for Operation Rescue, who says that because abortion is a moral issue it needs to be resolved on the national level just as slavery was.

The incumbent, David Price of Chapel Hill, is an advocate of abortion rights. He has represented the 4th District in Congress continuously since 1987 except for 1995 and 1996.

American Right to Life (ARTL) classifies pro-lifers into four tiers based on their view of the personhood of the preborn. Those tiers, numbered 1 through 4, are personhood now, personhood whenever, personhood later, and personhood never. Based on the definitions at ARTL's Prolife Profiles website, Roche, Lawson, and Hutchins fit into Tier 4, and Burnett fits into Tier 2.

Are all human beings persons?

The Personhood Movement, which includes organizations such as American Right to Life, American Life League, Colorado Right to Life, Personhood USA, Life Commercials, and America's Independent Party, contends that all human beings are persons and have an inalienable right to life that comes from our Creator, who commands, “You shall not murder.” Personhood is not affected by the following factors:

  • Size
  • Level of development
  • Environment
  • Degree of dependency

The following table links to each candidate's website and shows where the five candidates in the Fourth Congressional District stand on personhood:

Candidate Pro
Choice
Pro
Life
Personhood
Never
Personhood
Later
Personhood
Whenever
Personhood
Now
David Price X X
Frank Roche XX
William (B.J.) Lawson XX
George Hutchins XX
David Burnett X X

In their own words

Here are the candidates' positions in their own words:

Price
Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.
Roche
I’m on the side of life. I would always counsel abstinence or adoption over abortion. I believe Roe v. Wade is unconstitutional. On this issue, for members of Congress, the US Constitution compels us to leave the legal authority for abortion to the several states to decide independently.
Lawson
In my opinion, the Supreme Court exceeded its constitutional jurisdiction with the Roe v Wade ruling, and the abortion issue should be brought back to the states on that basis.
I believe the purpose of government is to protect life, and do not support abortion -- however, I think we've accomplished very little playing Supreme Court Roulette and arguing over appointees when we should be doing everything possible at the state and local level to reduce the need for, and incidence of, abortion.
Hutchins
Many persons who support our campaign, support "RIGHT TO LIFE ISSUES."
To satisfy both sides of this issue, I felt such decisions should be decided by each state, or even each county, rather than by the federal government, on a legal basis.
The reason for this, one could move to another location within America, if ones views are NOT reflected by his local community, or if one was political, one could use the legal vote, to change his local community towards the direction, to reflect his views.
Burnett
As a former local leader for Operation Rescue, I consider myself strongly prolife. Because this is a moral issue, it needs to be resolved on the national level just as slavery was. I would have no problem supporting the Tier 1 position if it can succeed. However, if only lesser legislation can succeed, I will support it because it is my duty to save some even if I cannot save all.

Election schedule

The primary election is scheduled for May 4, 2010. Early (“One Stop”) voting begins Thursday, April 15.

In addition to the race for U.S. House of Representatives, the primary election includes U.S. Senate and various other contests such as nonpartisan school board and judicial races that vary from one precinct to another. The Fourth Congressional District includes all of Orange County, all of Durham County, northeastern Chatham County, and most of western and southern Wake County.

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