Republican candidates across the county have tried to distance themselves from Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., who believes that rape victims should be forced to give birth and said that victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
That’s been much more difficult for GOPers in Montana.
A whopping 57 candidates for the Montana legislature actually voted for an amendment to the Montana Constitution to ban abortion, under all circumstances, with no exception for rape or incest. Sen. Debby Barrett (R-Dillon) was one of them, as democratic challenger Richard Turner of Dillan smartly points out in a mail piece (pictured).
The forced birth for rape victims amendment cleared the house and the senate with 96 votes. All Republicans voted for it except Lila Evans. However, because it takes a 2/3 vote of 150 legislators to amend the constitution, the amendment failed by only four votes.
Below the fold is the list of current legislative candidates who voted in favor of forced births for victims of rape and incest. Check it out to see if your legislator is on it–I’ve alphabetized the list by town.
Shamefully, Jonathan Windy Boy and Gene Vuckovich also made the list. To be sure, there are many more GOP candidates for legislature who share these beliefs but weren’t in the 2011 session–like Scott Sales. There are also many more Republican legislators who voted for this but aren’t up for re-election this year.
Rick Hill, Steve Daines, and Tim Fox all support Akin’s position. Rehberg was an early major donor to Akin.
Whatever happened before last Friday’s surprising defeat of the popular vote-by-mail bill in the Montana House of Representatives stinks to high heaven, and a lot of people in Helena are wondering when the press is going to start getting to the bottom of it.
House Bill 130, which would have launched a statewide vote-by-mail election system, passed twice with bipartisan support in House. But after a secretive, last-minute lobbying campaign Friday, 15 Republicans switched their votes on the final reading, killing the popular bill with a vote of 57-42 (all House Democrats voted for it).
There’s a lot of buzz that Congressman Dennis Rehberg was pulling the strings at the Montana Capitol Friday, directing his henchmen to do the dirty work of vote-buying in the Montana House of Representatives, Jack Abramoff style. After all, Rehberg has plans to run for the U.S. Senate in 2012—an election year that would have been significantly impacted by a vote-by-mail system.
Will Montana’s political reporters dare to ask what really happened? Or are they content with softball news stories and lame Republican excuses?
If any reporter is interested in chasing this down, maybe this will help. Here’s the contact information of the 15 Republicans who mysteriously changed their minds Friday. What are they getting in return for their mysterious votes? Montana voters deserve to know.
- Rep. Duane Ankney (HD 43, Colstrip)
- Rep. Tom Berry (HD 45, Roundup)
- Rep. Christy Clark (HD 17, Choteau)
- Rep. John Esp (HD 61, Big Timber)
- Rep. Brian Hoven (HD 24, Great Falls)
- Rep. Douglas Kary (HD 48, Billings)
- Rep. Harry Klock (HD 83, Harlowton)
- Rep. Cleve Loney (HD 25, Great Falls)
- Rep. Walter McNutt (HD 37, Sidney)
- Rep. Scott Reichner (HD 9, Bigfork)
- Rep. Don Roberts (HD 56, Billings)
- Rep. Janna Taylor (HD 11, Dayton)
- Rep. Wendy Warburton (HD 34, Havre)
- Rep. Ted Washburn (HD 69, Bozeman)
- Rep. Jeffrey Welborn (HD 72, Dillon)