August 24th, 2012

Former Gov. Linda Lingle, who is skipping the Republican National Convention in Tampa next week, is also trying to put some distance between some of the issues in the GOP platform that could be toxic to her U.S. Senate campaign against U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono in Hawaii.

On Friday, the Republican issued a statement calling on the RNC to consider the diverse opinions of Republicans on a women’s right to choose an abortion before adopting a platform plank recommending a constitutional amendment that would ban abortion under all circumstances.

Lingle, who supports abortion rights, said she sent a letter to Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus and the leaders of the GOP platform committee.

“This platform plank as drafted fails to recognize the views of pro-choice Republicans like myself. Throughout my years of public service, I have listened with great interest to both sides of this issue. The positions taken were argued with equivalent passion and commitment. But I have always been an ardent supporter of women’s rights, including a woman’s right to choose, and I do not stand alone in this opinion,” Lingle said in the letter.

She also repeated her position on abortion:

  • a woman has an unequivocal right to choose what is best for her health, including her reproductive rights;
  • decisions regarding a woman’s health care need to be left up to her, in consultation with her doctor and family;
  • women (and men), including those with limited financial resources, should have broad access to contraceptives, emergency contraceptives and family planning services provided that there are clearly defined exceptions for religious institutions. As Governor of Hawaii, she signed Act 201 in 2003, Hawaii’s emergency contraception law, allowing pharmacists in Hawaii to dispense emergency contraception without prescriptions; and
  • all legislation related to contraception, emergency contraception, family planning, and abortion must be met with equal respect for religious institutions that may object to these services. Their deeply held beliefs are no less important and must be acknowledged through appropriate exemptions within the law.

Other Republicans who have difficult campaigns in traditionally Democratic states are looking for similar distance.

Earlier this week, U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., who is facing attorney Elizabeth Warren, urged the GOP to soften the platform language on abortion.

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