Republican candidate Jim Nussle says if he’s elected governor, he would sign a bill into law outlawing abortion. Nussle says his recent answer to a survey indicating abortions “should be legal only within the first trimester of a pregnancy” was meant to show he’s pragmatic enough to know an outright ban on abortions won’t happen first in Iowa, but outlawing mid- or late-term abortions is a more likely first step.
“So my position has definitely not changed,” Nussle says. “I have a 100 percent voting record being pro-life in Congress. That’s my personal and public and prayerful decision.”
The U.S. Supreme Court’s makeup has changed and Nussle says the court may “throw back” to states the authority to regulate abortion. “The next governor needs to have clear positions on these issues,” Nussle says. “I’ve made it clear that I will sign legislation, I will be an advocate for a pro-life position and I will try and limit and save lives as often as possible in Iowa.”
Nussle says restrictions on abortion will come “incrementally” if the Supreme Court does let states act and that’s why he answered the survey indicating that if a ban on abortions does come to pass in Iowa, he would sign a bill that allows exceptions in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. “The reason I answered each one of those questions is I think they’re fair questions given the change of circumstance that I believe may occur with the Supreme Court,” Nussle says.
Nussle points out that his Democrat rival Chet Culver failed to answer the “Project Vote Smart” survey, as Nussle himself did. “And so the only thing we have is his website that says he’s not for any restriction, well, then he needs to answer the question: if a 12 year old girl who is pregnant with an eight-month or a nine-month wants to have an abortion, what does Chet Culver say?” Nussle says. Nussle has said for months that he would sign a bill into law requiring parental consent before an abortion can be performed on a minor.
Patty Judge, Democrat Chet Culver’s runningmate, held a news conference at Democratic Party headquarters on Wednesday to accuse Nussle of flip-flopping on the abortion issue. “Chet Culver and I have been very consistent when it comes to the issue of choice,” Judge says. “We are opposed to the government infringing on a woman’s right, in any way, to make her own health care decisions.”
Judge says Nussle’s recent statements on abortion, by comparison, are confusing and murky. “This is not just a flip-flop,” Judge says. “It’s pretty much a triple backflip with a twist.”
Nussle’s recent statements on the abortion issue aren’t stopping the Iowa Right to Life Committee from endorsing him. The group plans to hold a statehouse news conference at midday today (Thursday) to announce they back Nussle in the race for governor. Nussle has said the issue is personal to him because he was a “crisis” pregnancy. “I am pro-life and I believe that life begins at conception,” Nussle says. “My opponent probably has the most extreme position on abortion that any Iowa governor has ever held. I mean, for him to say he doesn’t want any restriction whatsoever in any circumstance is as extreme as any person who has ever held the office of governor in the state of Iowa.”