Thomas, Winburn to Lose Pro-life Endorsements

October 6, 2014

Last week, I wondered whether Ohio Right to Life and Cincinnati Right to Life would rescind their endorsements of Cecil Thomas, after he flip-flopped on the definition of marriage.

Since then, the Cincinnati Enquirer has reported (longer article, shorter article) that Cincinnati Right to Life has rescinded its endorsements of both Mr. Thomas and Mr. Winburn (and Ohio Right to Life is considering rescinding its endorsement of Mr. Thomas) after both men started waffling on their pro-life stance.

The Enquirer reminds us that both men had unambiguously declared themselves pro-life just earlier this year in their answers to Cincinnati Right to Life’s candidate questionnaire.  Now, “facing off in a district that leans 70 percent Democratic,” they’re trying to tell the Enquirer that they might vote pro-choice if elected.

The Enquirer describes the two candidates’ new statements as “similar” to each other, though Mr. Winburn’s new position is ambiguously more pro-life than Mr. Thomas’s:  Thomas now practically says that laws against abortion violate the separation of church and state, while Winburn still says, among other things,

Yes, I’m pro-life. I think the woman and the baby has the right to live.

and

. . . I’ve just really tried to stay away and, to be honest with you, try to dodge those issues.

Interestingly, Citizens for Community Values echoes that, saying that even if Mr. Winburn doesn’t clarify or fill out the CCV questionnaire, it appears that he’s attempting a political dodge rather than actually changing his position, and

If he does not apply for our endorsement, we would still support Charlie because he is certainly better on our issues than Cecil Thomas. He told me his position on life. I have that personally from him.

Cincinnati Right to Life may also be keeping the door open; in the first article, they said,

We send out a survey to candidates, and we know the candidates don’t always tell us the truth on those surveys. If they’ve told us one thing on a survey and have led us to believe that they’re for the protection of human life and yet they do not act on that in their public life, then they will not be endorsed again.

but in the the later article, they signaled that they might still be open to reinstating one or both endorsements, if

we can receive reassurances that they understand the issues and are committed to pro-life political leadership in Columbus . . . .

On why Ohio Right to Life is now reconsidering its previous endorsement of Thomas:

“Mr. Thomas was crystal-clear in his support of the pro-life mission of Ohio Right to Life. It appears he’s flip-flopped,” said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. “He’s either lied to Ohio Right to Life or to The Enquirer or both, but this should raise serious concerns among both Democratic and Republican voters in the district about who he is.”

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