There’s an old saying in Alabama that goes “if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes”.
You could almost say the same for Alabama politicians.
Since Alabama rid itself of Jeff Sessions, whispers have been flying around ‘Bama faster than you can break a sweat in July about who would end up with Luther Strange’s (strangely) appointed seat. The AL GOP has threatened to withhold support for those going after him. All of this has been talked about in the media more than the issues that each candidate stands by.
And of course, getting honest quotes and discussion from (most) Alabama media with candidates concerning abortion and/or women’s rights in general just doesn’t happen. (Unless someone in the Lege or nationwide has said some dumb shit.)
Montgomery Area Reproductive Justice Coalition has taken the time to scour the web to find quotes, articles, etc concerning where each candidate stands on abortion, reproductive rights in general, women’s issues, and how they feel about the LGBTQ+ community. If we couldn’t find anything about these issues, we’ve contacted the candidate(s) for a response and will update this as often as needed. We’ll start with the Democrats first, since we pretty much already know how the Republicans feel.
Dr. Will Boyd – ANTI BUT PRO CHOICE? COULD DO BETTER.
“I’m not somebody who wants to take guns away,” Boyd said in a recent interview. “I’m not somebody who wants to kill babies.”
Dr. Boyd states on his website that: “While Dr. Boyd, who is a clergyman and Christian counselor, is pro-life, he does not believe the federal government has the right to make decisions about a woman’s healthcare.”
While we understand that people can be personally against abortion but not want to impose their beliefs on others, we are hesitant to call this politician solidly pro choice. All too often we have seen candidates who take this position, then proceed to impose restrictions or abortions (or abortion clinics) that cause undue burden(s) on women when elected.
We do commend Dr. Boyd on his support of equal pay, women’s healthcare, LGBTQ+ equality, and diversity.
Vann Caldwell – UNKNOWN
We have contacted Mr. Caldwell and will update this when more information is available.
Jason Fisher – UNKNOWN
Although Fisher does say that he is for “access to quality, affordable healthcare, offering additional paid flex-time and leave for single and working parents, raising median household wages, further strengthening oversight to discourage and prosecute gender-based pay discrimination, and reigning in abusive practices that overwork salaried employees to the detriment of the family bond” on the “Family Values” section on his website, there is nothing there about abortion or reproductive rights. We have contacted Mr. Fisher though his website concerning this issue and will update this post when/if he responds.
On LGBTQ+ rights, his website states: “I believe the June 2015 Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges is settled law and settled correctly. There should be no tolerance for discrimination of any kind in our society.”
Michael Hansen – PRO CHOICE
Under the “Universal Healthcare” section of his website, Mr. Hansen directly addresses reproductive rights: “I trust women and their doctors to make healthcare decisions that are best for them and their families. Roe v. Wade is the law of the land, period. I oppose any legislation that seeks to undermine a woman’s right to choose. I support robust, fully funded family planning programs like Planned Parenthood that many women (and men) depend on for screenings, contraception, and other preventive services.”
*Update as of 8/6/17 @ 8:20PM: A Facebook friend says that the candidate posted the picture below of a completed National Right To Life questionnaire/survey on Facebook.*
**Update as of 8/7/17 @10:20AM: This article from the Montgomery Advertiser (full disclosure: our founder/president is quoted in this article) about abortion & LGBTQ+ rights quotes Mr. Hansen in an email: “Choice to me is about so much more than abortion,” Democratic Senate candidate Michael Hansen wrote in an email. “It’s about a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, to decide what happens to her body … it’s about autonomy and empowerment.”
Also quoted is his stance on appointing Supreme Court Justices who support choice: “Democrats in the race support the Roe v. Wade decision. Both Hansen and Doug Jones, a former U.S. attorney, said they would not support candidates for the U.S. Supreme Court who would overturn the decision.”
Mr. Hansen is the only openly LGBTQ+ candidate in this race, and the Justice For All Section covers issues that affect not only women, but all Alabamians.
Doug Jones – PRO CHOICE
Under the Priorities section of his website, a subsection called “Women’s Health & Equality” says the following: “I will defend women’s access to contraception and a woman’s right to choose and fight any legislation or executive action that would allow insurance companies to discriminate against women. Planned Parenthood provides essential preventative and reproductive health care services like cancer screenings, STD testing and low-cost birth control to millions of American women who have no insurance or otherwise can’t afford these services. I stand with Planned Parenthood.
Today’s champion of equal pay is Lilly Ledbetter and her battle for equality in Gadsden, Alabama. In the Senate, I will work to extend the spirit of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to make if mandatory that two people, doing the same job with the same qualifications are paid equally – regardless of their gender. The shenanigans around the 2016 campaign must be pushed aside and full equality for women made the law and the norm in America.”
In addition, under the Healthcare section of his campaign site he states: “I reject the war on Planned Parenthood as another Washington-centered partisan game. I will defend women’s access to contraception and a woman’s right to choose and fight any legislation or executive action that would allow insurance companies to discriminate against women.”
**Update as of 8/7/17 @10:20AM: This article from the Montgomery Advertiser (full disclosure: our founder/president is quoted in this article) about abortion & LGBTQ+ rights quotes Mr. Jones in a statement: “I believe the vast majority of Alabamians share the goal of reducing unwanted pregnancies and abortions,” Jones said in a statement. “The right way to do this is through education and access to health care and contraception rather than criminalizing women’s reproductive decisions.”
Also quoted is his stance on appointing Supreme Court Justices who support choice: “Democrats in the race support the Roe v. Wade decision. Both Hansen and Doug Jones, a former U.S. attorney, said they would not support candidates for the U.S. Supreme Court who would overturn the decision.
We could not find anything on his website about LGBTQ+ equality, but this AL.com article states that he supports LGBTQ+ rights.
(MARJCO NOTE OF INTEREST: As the former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, Doug Jones successfully prosecuted two infamous Birmingham, Alabama bombings: the abortion clinic bombing by Eric Robert Rudolph in 1998, and the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963 by KKK members.)
Robert Kennedy, Jr. – PRO CHOICE, BUT…
Under the Issues section of his website, he states under The Right to Privacy (Family Planning): “As a matter of public policy, I believe that the difficult choice to end a pregnancy is a family decision that specifically resides with the woman. As a person guided by faith, I believe our goal should be twofold: a) reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies though education and family-planning resources, and b) provide the women who experience unplanned pregnancies with the support and pre-natal resources to carry babies to term, if they choose to do so. We want women who experience unplanned pregnancies to understand the range of available options.”
The reason we say But… here is because he could have stopped at the first sentence. To imply that women who experience unplanned pregnancies are not aware of their options is insulting. We agree that education and access to affordable birth control is key to lowering the unplanned pregnancy rate. It’s our opinion that faith should have no factor in these issues. We have the same concerns with Mr. Kennedy’s position as we do with Dr. Boyd’s.
We could not find a section on equal pay or LGBTQ+ equality on his website or through search engines.
Charles Nana – PROCHOICE?
We could not find a section that addresses our issues on his website, but found this in an AL.com article: “The candidate refers to himself as both a Berniecrat and a conservative Democrat, backing policies such as universal healthcare and free college tuition while swinging to the right on abortion and guns. His Christian beliefs affect his philosophy on abortion, but his politics prevent him from believing it should be enshrined into law.
“Republicans want to impose their view and their approach,” Nana said. “No. I believe in the sanctity of life as a Christian, but I will not impose my view on a woman. She has a right to decide what happens to her body.”
Again, we always have a problem when candidates say they will not impose their own beliefs but…. We have this same issue with candidates Boyd & Kennedy.
In this recent AL.com article about banning transgender people in the military, Mr. Nana says he supports LGBTQ+ rights: “Only someone with a hateful mindset and military ideology would discriminate against any group of Americans from voluntarily service in the military,” said Charles Nana, a Hoover businessman. “Donald Trump continues to be the biggest threat to our democratic institutions and the effectiveness of our military.”
That does it for the Democratic field. Next up, the Republicans. There are 11 candidates in this field, but we are only covering those that, in our experience with Alabama politics, we believe have a chance in the race.
(NOTE: We have a policy of not linking to anti-abortion websites. If you doubt the veracity of our claims below, please do a simple Google search.)
Luther Strange – ANTI CHOICE
When not losing EVERY SINGLE LAWSUIT brought against his office by abortion clinics & women’s rights advocates in Alabama during his tenure as Attorney General (see here, here, and here), you can read about his other reckless opinions on abortion here.
He is in favor of a nationwide 20 week ban, wants to defund Planned Parenthood, and has other anti-choice machinations.
Regarding LGBTQ+ rights, Strange says this about transgender people in the military: “The US Military is no place for social experiments.” (Funny, Roy Moore said the *exact same thing*.) His attempt to defend Alabama’s horrid gay marriage ban included using a “largely discredited expert”.
Mo Brooks – ANTI CHOICE
Don’t listen to us, check out the “right to life” section on his website for yourself. You can also see how he stands on stem cell research (no) and funding of Planned Parenthood here.
In reference to LGBTQ+ rights, Brooks said: “I oppose the U.S. military paying for transgender surgery.” Brooks said (to Alabama Political Reporter) that if people are confused about their gender and they are willing to risk their lives for their country I am not sure that we should deny them the risk. Brooks said that he needs to talk to our military leaders about whether or not their serving hurts the efficiency of our fighting forces.
Roy Moore – ANTI CHOICE
To say that Roy Moore is anti choice and anti LGBTQ+ would be the understatement of the century. Trust us, we have TONS of experience with ol’ Roy.
When not hanging around with domestic terrorists of the anti-abortion & anti-LGBTQ+ movement, you can find him writing opinions that state women should be jailed and prosecuted for having abortions. We won’t even get into the TWO TIMES he has been kicked off the bench of the Alabama Supreme Court – the latter for disobeying the United States Supreme Court decision in Obergefell vs. Hodges. Anyone in Alabama should know his history, and we’re not going to spend the next day linking to all the terrible things he has said over his career.
Randy Brinson (ANTI CHOICE)
In an interview with Alabama Political Reporter, Mr. Brinson said this: “APR: Would you support an amendment to the US Constitution declaring that life begins at conception and banning abortion across the United States?
Brinson: Of course I would. It would be a wonderful thing. We need to welcome life from conception to natural death.” We can also reduce the number of abortions by putting programs in place to reduce unplanned pregnancies.”
On LGBTQ+ issues, we could find little other than this recent AL.com article about transgendered people in the military: “Dr. Randy Brinson (R) said that he does support President Trump’s decision. Dr, Brinson said that transgender troops cause tremendous confusion and negatively affect morale. Brinson claims that it is very difficult to accommodate transgender troops especially on deployment.
Brinson said that President Trump’s decision is very positive step for the US military. “Having served in the military, I support President Trump in that decision.”
As the former head of the Alabama Christian Coalition, we can guarantee that he is no friend to women’s or LGBTQ+ issues.
Trip Pittman (ANTI CHOICE)
Not only do we have experience in battling ol’ Roy, we have firsthand knowledge of Mr. Pittman’s activities in the Alabama Legislature when it comes to women’s reproductive rights. Ol’ Trip never met an abortion restriction he didn’t like (and vote for). (Or a way to institute the death penalty – he brings about some type of execution bill every. single. year.)
From his website: “Trip Pittman believes that all life is a gift from God and must be protected from conception to natural death. A strong Christian and proven pro-life leader, Trip will not simply hold a position, he will take a genuine stand as a champion for the pre born.”
We couldn’t find anything other than this statement under the “Religious Freedom” section on his campaign site when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community: “Both the preacher and the congregant who seeks to live out their faith are under assault from our government. Trip Pittman believes the greatest guarantee the government can offer is the right to serve the Lord in how you worship, run your business, and spread His Word. It is time that the pastor, the florist, the baker, the adoption agency, the religious organization, and the student who simply wants to share their faith feel safe and secure in our nation again. There will no more ardent advocate for religious freedom in the Senate than Trip Pittman.”
We all know that “religious freedom” is Republican code for “anti-LGBTQ+”. So, there’s that.
(Spoiler alert: All of these Republicans still hate “the gays”.)
This is a much longer post than we anticipated, but hope it will help you when you decide to go to the polls and vote. The first primary election will be held on August 15, 2017. The runoff election will be held on September 26, 2017 and the final election on December 12, 2017. Need to register to vote in Alabama? Click here. To find out where you vote in Alabama, click here.