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Pence inconsistent on abortion position


– In denouncing U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s comments on rape and abortion Wednesday, GOP gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence opened himself up for criticism on his own position.

The Pence campaign claimed he has consistently supported exceptions for abortions in the cases of rape, incest or when the life of the mother is in danger.

But a question on Indiana Right to Life’s 2012 voters’ guide survey asked statewide candidates in which circumstances they believe abortion should be legal.

Pence checked B – or life of the mother only.

His campaign was asked by The Journal Gazette via email and phone Wednesday to address the contradiction contained in the survey, but the campaign declined repeated requests.

Instead, Pence spokeswoman Christy Denault would say only that he authored a bill in Congress that includes exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.

“Mike will continue to support these exceptions should he become governor,” she said.

Later in the day, a copy of the 2010 Indiana Right to Life survey was posted on a social media site. That version showed Pence marked A – that abortion should never be legal.

Republican Pence has a large lead in his race for governor over Democrat John Gregg, who quickly jumped on the confusion.

“Congressman Pence is not being straight with Hoosiers. He has called on Richard Mourdock to apologize, yet won’t say exactly what in Mourdock’s comments he disagrees with. He says he has always supported a rape exception, yet that is clearly false,” said Daniel Altman, communications director for Gregg.

“Congressman Pence has spent his career crusading on this social issue, yet now he is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the people of Indiana. Voters deserve to know his real position.”

Everything started Tuesday night when Mourdock tried to explain why he doesn’t support abortion even in the case of rape.

“I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God. And, I think, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen,” he said.

Pence sent out a statement saying, “I strongly disagree with the statement made by Richard Mourdock during last night’s Senate debate. I urge him to apologize.”

Gregg also filled out the same Right to Life survey but checked the box for rape and/or incest along with life of the mother. His campaign also pointed to a nonbinding resolution signed onto by Pence last year that they claim also provides no exceptions for abortion.

Denault said it “doesn’t make any reference to abortion, so therefore there are no exceptions in it.”

The resolution speaks to the equal protection under the 14th Amendment for the “right to life of each born and preborn human person.”