In purporting to explain Kaine victory, NPR's Liasson falsely labeled Va. governor-elect "pro-life"


On the November 10 broadcast of National Public Radio's (NPR) Morning Edition, NPR national political correspondent Mara Liasson described Virginia Governor-elect Timothy M. Kaine as "pro-life," wrongly suggesting that Kaine supports blanket prohibitions on abortion. In fact, while Kaine has expressed a personal opposition to abortion, he has publicly opposed criminalizing abortion.

Liasson reported on the potential impact recent electoral victories such as Kaine's may have on the 2006 midterm elections:

LIASSON: To get over those obstacles, Democrats say they'll be trying to apply some lessons of the off-year elections. In Virginia, Democrat Tim Kaine got a huge boost from the popularity of outgoing governor Mark Warner. But he also ran as a centrist, pro-life Democrat who could talk openly about his religious faith -- attributes that might help Democrats win in other red states.

An October 27 Washington Post article quoted Kaine highlighting differences on the issue of abortion access between him and his Republican opponent, former Virginia attorney general Jerry W. Kilgore:

Kaine spoke more extensively than he has previously about abortion, which he said is a "critical issue" in the race because of the changes on the high court, which has protected abortion rights.

"Jerry Kilgore believes that you can't be anti-abortion unless you want to make abortion a crime, and I fundamentally reject that," Kaine said. "I've always opposed making it a crime -- outlawing a woman or a doctor for participating in an abortion. And you don't have to criminalize women or their doctors to be anti-abortion."

Kaine's campaign website explains his "faith-based opposition to abortion," which entails enforcing Virginia's existing abortion restrictions and reducing abortion through abstinence education, access to contraception, and adoption.

Posted In
Elections, Government
2005 Elections
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