Candidates And Supporters Make Final Push For Women Voters

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Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor (yellow shirt) and former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery (plaid skirt) have been trying to get Ohio women to support MItt Romney. On the right, former Ohio First Lady Frances Strickland talks to a group of young women outside the Franklin County early voting center.(Photo: Jo Ingles, Ohio Public Radio)
Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor (yellow shirt) and former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery (plaid skirt) have been trying to get Ohio women to support MItt Romney. On the right, former Ohio First Lady Frances Strickland talks to a group of young women outside the Franklin County early voting center.(Photo: Jo Ingles, Ohio Public Radio)

Both presidential candidates have taken great strides to attract women voters, and nowhere is that more evident than in Ohio.

Earlier this week, a Republican Senate candidate from Indiana, Richard Mourdock, said this when explaining why he believes abortions should not be allowed in cases of rape.

“I struggled with it myself for a long time but I came to realize life is that gift from God, and I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape that it is something God intended it to happen,” Mourdock said during a televised debate.

Mourdock’s comments started a firestorm and that fire only grew hotter when it was learned that he had the endorsement of Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

“With so much at stake, I hope you will join me in supporting Richard Murdouck for U.S. Senate,” Romney says in the TV spot.

Romney has since said he doesn’t agree with Murdouck’s controversial comments.  But it’s yet one more time in this campaign that Romney has had to clarify his position on the issue of abortion. 

Romney’s opponents accuse him of flip flopping when it comes to the subject of abortion in general.  Kellie Copeland with NARAL Ohio says Romney is trying to fool Ohio women.

He has said repeatedly that he’d support overturning Roe vs Wade.  He supported the personhood amendment in Mississippi.  He selected a candidate and allowed a platform that supported outlawing abortion in all situations.  So where he stands is very clear.  I think what he’s trying to do is to convince Ohio women that he’s not what he really is because he’s trying to get their votes.

Copeland says studies show there is not support in Ohio for outlawing abortion in all circumstances. 

Her group is supporting President Obama because he is on record as wanting to keep Roe vs Wade in place. 

Ohio Right to Life is supporting Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.  The group’s President, Mike Gonadakis, says it does not require candidates to support a ban on abortion in all circumstances in order to win the group’s endorsement.

We should be talking about the issues.  They are difficult issues.  No one has a clear cut answer but we need to work together because even if we made it a national exception for rape, incest or life of the mother,but ended all of the rest of them, we would be saving millions of babies each year because in the state of Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Health, not one abortion last year, and the report just came out a few weeks ago, not one abortion was due to rape, incest, or the life of the mothers.

The debate over abortion comes at a time when both candidates are putting focus on winning votes of women in Ohio. 

And the campaigns are using different tactics. 

A Mitt Romney bus sits in front of the Delaware County early voting site.

In Republican-leaning Delaware County, a large Romney Ryan bus pulls into the parking lot of an early voting center. Republican Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor invites a handful of women who’ve gathered at the center to get on board.

All right, you guys.  Well thank you for being here.  I guess we have some Women for Mitt here but also I’ve been on the bus for my second day and we are travelling across the state of Ohio trying to reach out to our voters in every county, kind of the purpose of the bus is to reinforce early voting.

Taylor urges the women on board to cast ballots for Romney and Ryan early so they can volunteer to help get out the vote on Election Day.  She says this is the most important election of our lifetime.

And she talks about how high government spending could saddle her children with out of control debt and hold them back from getting educational and career opportunities they deserve. 

She doesn’t mention the abortion issue. 

Neither does former Attorney General Betty Montgomery who is also on board.  But after the women get off the bus, Montgomery says she doesn’t believe the abortion issue is what women are focused on right now.

“The question about abortion is an important personal question,” Montgomery says.

“But if I go into the emergency room right now with a broken arm and a gunshot wound to the chest, you can fix the broken arm and I could still die.  The most important thing I have to worry about right now is the economy. 

“It’s the most important thing we worry about and the Obama campaign has been very good at throwing the distractions out.”

The Obama campaign is using abortion as one way to motivate women, especially younger women, to vote for the President. A large charter bus carrying about two dozen young female students from Ohio State University pulls into the early voting center in Franklin County.  They are greeted by Ohio’s former first lady, Democrat Frances Strickland.

Frances Strickland speaks to young women outside the Franklin County early voting site.

“Well this is a very important time for women in this country and young women.  Their rights that we thought had been settled are at risk again.  I think a lot is at risk and people need to think long and hard about sitting this election.

Strickland says you can’t trust Romney on where he stands on the abortion issue.

“I really want to take him at face value but the fact that he has been one way then gone another way then switched back another way. So that’s one of my problems with him because I don’t know what he’s doing to get votes and what he really believes.”

The real question is going to be what Ohio women believe.  Right now, polls show most women are supporting President Obama. 

Challenger Romney is hoping to shift some of that support to him in the coming days. If he’s successful in attracting enough of them, it’s quite possible Ohio women could determine the future of the nation.

  • Christie

    I just looked up the Ohio Department of Health report on abortions, and the president of Ohio Right to Life is flat out lying. There is no data collected on the reason for the abortion, so there is no way to know if any were due to rape, incest, or the life of the mother.