The debate this past Friday with 7 candidates for the GOP nomination for an open Congressional seat may end up being resolved by the answers candidates gave to this question.
Going into the debate, Rep. Scott Perry had some trouble on his right flank because he was one of the 40 legislators who withdrew their sponsorship from the "Women's Right to Know" legislation which started out with a majority of the GOP controlled House endorsing it.
The original intent of this legislation was to force Planned Parenthood to allow expectant mothers who come to them for an abortion, to see the ultra sound image which they have already admitted is done in 99% of all cases in the United States.
They are presently under no such obligation to share such a photo, and critics charge they don't really want a woman to be "free to choose" because they fear some will say "I changed my mind and I'm not going to kill my baby today." That would cut some income that Planned Parenthood makes from what they call "women's healthcare" - the abortion of babies.
The bill started out in Harrisburg simply enough but HB 1077 then encountered the following major problems that put passage into question:
(1) allies of Planned Parenthood attacked, claiming it was an invasion of privacy tantamount to rape to force a "digital probe" on an expectant mother, resulting in an outpouring of angry email and phone calls to legislators,
(2) the right to life forces, led by groups such as PA Family Institute and ACTION of PA (Americans for Christian Traditions in our Nation) simply did not match the outpouring from the left leaving GOP legislators on the receiving end of a 3 to 1 and some say 5 to 1 outpouring against them, and
(3) the bill had major changes made to it in committee, which the 40 retreating legislators said, was cause for them to withdraw.
This sort of legislation has been enacted already in 23 states. The battle has been fought back and forth in these and other states. The most "powerful" argument the left has offered is when they hoist the "vaginal probe" argument.
It seems to be irrelevant to anyone that Planned Parenthood admits that they already DO use this ultra sound "vaginal probe" in 93% of all abortions.
It seems to be irrelevant to anyone that the "vaginal probe" or regular ultra sound has NOTHING to do with the question: why won't you give the expectant mother the right to see the picture you take, HOWEVER you take the picture of her baby?
Of course the argument totally ignores that "right to know" simply means that, when they take such an ultra sound image they must give the expectant mother the right to see it - but that does not mean they are forced to actually take the ultra sound, nor to use the "vaginal probe" method which is the practice when the baby is too young to see with the exterior ultra sound image.
And that's where things were when I reported in this space on the meeting of two concerned Christian Pastors, Father Samuel Houser of St. Patrick Catholic Church in York, PA and Pastor Ken Gibson, the York County Chairman of ACTION of PA, last Monday.
The Pastors heard the explanation, and while it did not cause them to even consider any endorsement, they did come away from their meeting with Scott Perry very favorably impressed with him and were impressed with his strong promise to work for passage of a "Right to Know" bill in the state legislature.
Prior to the ACTION of PA debate this past Friday night, the candidates already responded to a simple questionnaire sent to them by ACTION of PA, including this query:
Should abortion be illegal?
Unknown to both Christian Pastors who met with State Rep. Scott Perry on Wed., his answer was "no."
Abortion should NOT be illegal?
Oh: we must add this: Perry believes abortion should be "very strictly limited" as he says in the questionnaire.
So, candidate Scott Perry believes abortion is OK but not so much of it?
Jay McKiernan, the ACTION of PA state chairman, asked him about this at the debate Friday nite.
Scott Perry said he is pro-life, as he said at his private meeting with the two Christian pastors earlier on Wed.
And he said, he makes exceptions to his pro-life position: "I do make exceptions for the life of the mother, rape and incest."
Four other GOP candidates flat out said they were AGAINST abortion being legal - Ted Waga, Kevin Downs, Chris Reilly and Eric Martin.
Candidate Downs, whose national security answer I singled out for "best" kudos in a column last week about the York County GOP debate, answered this question also saying there should be some exceptions to allow abortion.
A recent poll conducted by the York College Institute of Applied Social Research of this congressional race indicates that the two candidates in the lead have 12 percent of the vote each, Chris Reilly and Scott Martin. In third place is candidate Sean Summers with the remaining candidates polling less than 2 percent.
But most important is that 2/3 of the voters are still undecided with one week until the vote.
And so right to life could very well decide the winner in this race.
So here's the question for the voters in this district:
When is abortion OK?
Let me rephrase that question before I share the answer of Father Samuel Houser, whose comments I have previously reported in this space after his meeting with Rep. Scott Perry last Wed.
When is murder OK?
Is murder OK if the person you are killing is under age 18? Or over age 65? Is murder OK if it is a black baby? Is murder OK if the baby is Jewish? Is murder OK when the victim has a broken leg, or an incurable disease, or some affliction? Is murder OK if the victim was born out of wedlock or if the mother gave birth after having been raped?
Or is murder ALWAYS wrong, should ALWAYS be illegal?
Those who believe a baby is a human being regardless of whether it is born, or a a few hours or days or months away from being born, think abortion is ALWAYS murder, is ALWAYS wrong, and should ALWAYS be illegal.
And many of us who will vote in the 4th Congressional District GOP primary in south central PA next Tuesday, will echo what I reported local activist Ann Bunn said: "I would never vote for a candidate who is pro-abortion."
Ann, would you vote for a candidate who is mostly against abortion? A candidate who is frequently against abortion? Or who wants abortion somewhat limited?
Two other in-district sources weigh in on this very question in exclusive comments made to one of our sources who passed it on for us to report here.
One is a Christian-conservative activist who makes regular use of social media plus also attends and participates in local meetings and activities:
"Saw your article about Scott Perry. I don't think these Pastors should let him off the hook on this ultrasound bill so easily. Without being there, I would guess that he told these Pastors what they wanted to hear. Voters don't realize that Perry is not 100% Pro-Life. He states his "Pro-life" position differently depending on the crowd he is in front of. I would not vote for him.
"After hearing him speak at several candidate forums, it is clear he is establishment. The 100% Pro-life crowd needs to support Ted Waga, not Perry. Just my two cents. Please don't share my name with these thoughts with anyone. Thanks!" (name withheld on request)
And we have this exclusive comment from Father Samuel Houser of St. Patrick Church.
Father Houser's written comment was passed on to me: "According to the article in Saturday's paper, when Scott Perry was asked 'if abortion should be illegal' ... 'No' Perry answered 'but very strictly limited... I do make exceptions for the life of the mother, rape and incest.' That being so, I cannot and will not support him. He claims to be 'pro-life'---does not sound that way to me."
ACTION of PA State Chairman Jay McKiernan, while not suggesting that any endorsement for Scott Perry is forthcoming, did say after the Friday forum, "What we want to do is get that bill going again."
Clearly, there is appreciation for the support expressed by Scott Perry for some form of "Women's Right to Know" bill.
Added McKiernan, "I think we're on the same page now with Rep. Perry."
One of my sources who is somewhat sympathetic to Scott Perry as a candidate, had promised some followup comment on this subject from Scott Perry by Sunday so I can make the deadline for this article - but I have nothing at press time. Perhaps there's nothing further to add then what I have written here.
I do not know if this debate and the answers from the ACTION of PA questionnaire settle who is the best candidate to vote for in the eyes of values voters in the 4th District.
There are certainly other issues for conservatives to look at, and there is without a doubt, many fine things which Scott Perry has done in the past and which he promises to do in the future.
But it is becoming clear that whether voters think abortion is murder sometimes, or always, may actually settle a close race for U.S. Congress in this "redstate" south central PA Congressional district.
Values voters look at the right and wrong of issues, and whether candidates will uphold right, always, or will they buckle under pressure or political expediency? If abortion is always wrong, then Rep. Perry will not be getting the votes of anyone in the 4th Congressional district who knows that he does not agree.
HanoverHenry of RED STATE is Pat Henry on Facebook, and I'm on the lookout for new friends there. You can also communicate via private mail at Facebook, and I welcome new sources for my articles focusing on the conservative-Christian viewpoint in Pennsylvania. I appreciate your sharing this article elsewhere and only ask that you include this "disclaimer" in any reprints or sharing you do. And I thank those whose information have helped me with some of my reports, including those who do not wish to be quoted by name.
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