Ad Watch: Anti-abortion critique of Lungren goes back decades

October 18, 2012 

A Democratic TV ad uses votes Dan Lungren cast years ago.

YOUTUBE

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is putting GOP Rep. Dan Lungren's record on abortion in the spotlight with a new television ad in the 7th Congressional District race. Lungren faces a challenge from Elk Grove Democrat Ami Bera in the Sacramento County swing seat. Here is the text of the television spot and an analysis by Torey Van Oot of The Bee's Capitol Bureau.

Narrator: Congressman Dan Lungren. He's our representative in Congress, but do his views actually represent us? Lungren wants to criminalize abortion even in cases of rape and incest, which is why he proposed constitutional amendments to outlaw all abortions with no exceptions five separate times. Dan Lungren is so far out of the mainstream, it's time to let him go.

Analysis: While Lungren has a strong anti-abortion rights record, the actions cited in the ad are decades old. In recent years, Lungren has supported abortion-related legislation that includes the exceptions listed in the ad. His campaign says the recent votes reflect his position on the issue.

Lungren did sign on as a co-sponsor of proposed amendments to the U.S. Constitution that sought to outlaw abortion, including the termination of pregnancies caused by rape or incest, when he served as a congressman representing the Long Beach area in the 1980s.

In the 1998 governor's race, Lungren said he cast the House votes knowing there would be compromise later in the process. He said his position is "influenced and directed" by his devout Catholicism but also "by my reflection of constitutional law." The Catholic Church opposes abortion, even in cases of rape and incest, and Lungren said he would "try to counsel" a rape or incest victim against abortion.

"But I believe, as far as government is concerned, you could not get support for getting rid of these exceptions," he said at the time. "Our society would not support it."

Lungren's votes since returning to Congress in 2004 have continued to earn him a 100 percent rating from National Right to Life, a group that opposes abortion rights. But the measures he has voted on, including legislation prohibiting the use of federal funding for the procedure, included exceptions for abortions of pregnancies caused by rape, incest or in cases where the mother's life is in jeopardy.

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