Monday, August 16, 2010

Hawaii abortion critics endorse Aiona, several other candidates but not Djou

HERBERT A. SAMPLE, Associated Press Writer
August 16, 2010

HONOLULU — Hawaii Right to Life, a group that generally backs Republicans who share its anti-abortion views, has opted not to endorse GOP U.S. Rep. Charles Djou, the likely GOP nominee in the 1st Congressional District race.

Djou, who won a May special election to fill the remaining months in a seat formerly held by Democrat Neil Abercrombie, backs most of the group's public policy goals, said Janet Grace, Hawaii Right to Life executive director.

But the decision not to endorse Djou was based on his support for federal funding of research into human embryonic stem cells and on his less-than-enthusiastic opposition to the landmark Roe vs. Wade ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, Grace said.

"He's better than his opponents, definitely," she added. "But he does not stand completely on our side when he says it's OK to kill human embryos for research."

Djou is seeking the Republican nomination against two lesser-known GOP challengers in the Sept. 18 primary. State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa, who backs abortion rights, is the likely Democratic nominee. Djou's campaign spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Grace said members of her group interviewed Djou recently and his statements mirrored what he told politically active Hawaii ministers in a letter during the special election campaign: While he believes abortion law is settled, he personally respects the "sanctity of human life, born and unborn."

Djou also supports federal laws that ban partial-birth abortions and opposes the use of federal Medicaid funds for abortions for indigent women.

But Djou's backing of stem cell research and his insistence that Roe vs. Wade is settled law rankled the group, Grace said.

"We don't believe the abortion issue is finished," she said. "That's why we need strong men and women in our local and national governments to work toward repealing these laws that harm innocent people." Read more

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