Thursday, April 22, 2010

more on IRTL's (incoherent) endorsement in the 9th District

Again, the issue is not their endorsement of Sodrel, but their sole endorsement of Sodrel-- in light of their decision to endorse all GOP candidates in the 8th District and the Senate race.

Sam Wamsley is a Hankins supporter, working to clear the record on the IRTL's incoherent endorsement decision. Here's his letter in the Jeff/NA Tribune which stirred some response. Following that, here's his open letter to Mike Fichter with IRTL:

The discussion around the Indiana Right to Life’s endorsement of a single candidate for the 9th
District Republican Primary concerns how the IRTL arrived at making this decision. In defense of the decision Mr. Fichter has stated Mike Sodrel was singled out for endorsement because of his “proven track record of loyalty, proven by votes and leadership...”

In my discussion of this matter I will lay out to you how Mike Sodrel has a failed track record and to request the IRTL change their decision by endorsing all of the Pro-Life candidates in the 9th District Republican Primary just as they have for the six candidates in the 8th District race and the five candidates in the Senate race.

In the 2004 election cycle Mike Sodrel was elected to the US House of Representatives. I have served on all of his campaign staffs except for this one and on his Congressional staff during the 109th Congress. During Mike’s tenure in Congress he voted in favor of a
DOL appropriations bill (HR 3010). It turns out this was the most costly bill of the 109th Congress; the $601.1 billion legislation signified significant increases in spending on social-welfare. Programs opposed to the ideas of Pro-Lifers, Constitutionalists, and capitalists. $285,963,000.00 were appropriated to Title X.

Title X can be used for sex education and family planning; selected Medicaid surgical abortions (rape, incest, danger of the mother’s life), used for birth control drugs and devices including drugs like Plan B which can by design abort early stage pregnancies by not allowing the conceived child to attach to the wall of the uterus, and used to provide birth control drugs and devices to minors without parental consent.

Title X cannot be used for abortions outside of the exemptions of rape, incest, or physical/psychiatric health of the mother, and they cannot be used for health benefit coverage that includes coverage of abortions.

Both Mike Sodrel and Congressman Mike Pence voted for HR 3010. Both by casting their vote stated they believed without a doubt they were doing the right thing, if only by the fact that they were now willing to be held accountable for their votes both politically and personally. Of the 230 Republicans only ten voted against it while fourteen abstained. Since the Democrats have taken control of Congress the Republicans have voted unanimously in the House against appropriation bills containing Title X funding. Though with exception Congressman Pence’s rally against Planned Parenthood funding in 2010 it is not clear whether their ‘Nays’ were cast for political reasons or moral reasons.

Additional legislation of interest in Sodrel’s voting record:
-Mike Sodrel did not support the Sanctity of Life Act (HR 776).
-Mike Sodrel did not support the Taxpayers Freedom of Conscience Act (HR 777).
-Mike Sodrel voted against the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act (HR 810).

-Mike Sodrel voted for the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act (HR 748).

Now let’s look at the platforms of the candidates running. I will show them in order as they will show up on the ballet.

Travis Hankins

As your Congressman I will fight to:

-End Federal Funding for Planned Parenthood

-Stop Federal Funding and Practice of Destructive Embryonic Stem Cell Research

-Overturn Roe V. Wade

-Pass a Constitutional Human Life Amendment


Mike Sodrel

There is no information posted on Mike’s website concerning his stance on any issue, including abortion and the right to life.

The only information I was able to find was from a January 20th Press Release:

“I am running to retake the Indiana Ninth Congressional District seat currently held by Baron Hill. Hill has not been a pro-life voice in Congress. He has only voted the pro-life position 41% of the time. When I represented the Ninth District, I voted with National Right to Life 100% of the time (11 for 11). If elected, I will gladly support de-funding of Planned Parenthood and I will support a Human Life Amendment.”

Todd Young

"Todd has served on our board for almost 3 years and is strong supporter of Pro-Life principles. His leadership qualities and integrity will be a welcome change in Washington. Voters can be confident Todd will be a voice for the unborn and a Representative we can be proud of." - Jeff Barnhill, Board President, Crisis Pregnancy Center of Bloomington"

I am pro-life and pro-adoption - and I try to back up my talk with action. I serve on the Board of Directors of a pro-life ministry. My wife Jenny and I also promote adoption by performing free legal work so that caring adults can become loving parents.


Rick Warren

-“100% Pro-Life”

-“Turn the abortion issue back to the states where it belongs.”


The last item I would like to discuss is the IRTL survey (last page). It is a 15 question survey. The first 14 questions are rated ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ and the 15th question is multiple choice. All four candidates-- Hankins, Sodrel, Warren and Young-- rated the first 14 questions the same. On the 15th question concerning exceptions for abortions, Hankins and Young agreed there are ‘no exceptions’ while Warren and Sodrel agreed ‘there must be exceptions for ‘life of mother only’.

As you can see each of these candidates at least publically claim to be Pro-Life, some are more descriptive than others. I think it is interesting that the one candidate who is supposed to have a stellar voting record won’t even post it on his website. Instead he sent out a press release, hoping to alleviate the damage his voting record has already caused.

On the other hand I truly hope he has changed his stance and will “gladly support defunding” Planned Parenthood. The IRTL would do well by endorsing Travis Hankins who wants to champion the battle to defund Planned Parenthood, or Todd Young who is going to ‘kick down’ the doors of government, or still yet Rick Warren who has obviously read the Constitution and has a plan.

With my argument complete; Mr. Fichter, I request that you endorse all of the candidates for the 9th District Congressional Republican Primary or endorse none.

Thank you,
Sam Wamsley

Someone wrote to say that Sodrel was on the board of IRTL for at least a year. It'd be interesting to know if other candidates in Indiana have served in a similar way. Of course, such service should be applauded. And in a sense, it's "natural" to allow personal biases to color one's opinion. But in trying to be objective-- and selling oneself as objective-- and in dealing with such important matters, such biases should be overcome.


At April 23, 2010 at 10:41 AM , Blogger Jenna said...

...a thorough analysis by Sam Wamsley.

Sodrel did not even vote for the Freedom of Conscience Act?
Considering this and the other information posted, it's a joke that they would endorse Sodrel over Hankins.

I understand RTL's reluctance to endorse anyone who says abortion is "state's rights" but I fail to
comprehend why they will not endorse Hankins or Young who have a clear and uncompromising position on this very important issue.

Why do you think this is?

At April 23, 2010 at 3:18 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

I don't have sufficient knowledge to do anything other than speculate.

It could be blindness or some form of ignorance. My best guess would be that they're friends and this is a favor. Of course, that begs the question why Sodrel would need the sort of friendly help that would damage IRTL's credibility-- unless the race is tight or he's behind.

From my experience with IRTL, Darrell's testimony on another post, and this episode, it's clear that "pro-life" is not the only priority in IRTL's decisions.

At April 23, 2010 at 9:56 PM , Blogger Jenna said...

highly unfortunate.

Hopefully, people will do their due diligence before going to the polls.

At April 27, 2010 at 3:19 PM , Blogger Jenna said...

Just read your update... the lightbulb comes on! -- they are more "Sodrel for Congress" than "Right to Life".
Hankins and Young should have been wholeheartedly endorsed according to RTL standards; not sure about Warren.
Just goes to show that you can't necessarily trust organizations, individuals or political parties to tell you how to vote. Do the research and vote according to your principles.
IRTL loses credibility over this and that is a shame.

Interestingly, RTL and Rand Paul are in somewhat of a spat down in KY.


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