Column: ‘Women, doctors, local political leaders’: How Dr. Oz handed Democrats a path to victory in Tuesday’s House primaries
The Democrat challengers to Republican Rep. Kevin Brady in the Pennsylvania 1st Congressional District primary, which the GOP hopes to win by a 2-1 margin, may have taken a calculated risk by running on a platform which is considered anti-abortion.
Dr. Mehrsa Baradaran, a Latina physician and former health care reporter for the Los Angeles Times, is the candidate whose anti-abortion credentials are the most notable. Although she opposes the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds for abortion services, she has said she would support funding for abortions for those in need. When challenged on her record, Baradaran was quick to explain her support for abortion by citing two exceptions — pregnancy from rape or incest and a woman’s right to choose to continue with a pregnancy which is the result of incest. Baradaran, like other candidates running this year, has made vague and unverified references to a “rape debate,” although there is no mention of rape or incest as a cause of a woman’s pregnancy. The “rape debate;” and all the other controversies which have accompanied that term over the past several years, are for the public to see.
Baradaran also made comments at her initial campaign launch that may surprise people who have no prior knowledge of the issues to which she has made her name, and which may be a result of her anti-abortion perspective. She was quoted in this column as saying that abortion is a “right, not a privilege.” It is a right, but not everyone will be able to exercise that right, she declared, and she added, ”There is a continuum of who gets to make that decision, from a woman in the first trimester to a woman over the age of 35 to a woman in an assisted-suicide clinic. There is the right of people for whom abortion is the most important life choice. There is the right of those who choose to have an abortion.