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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Cincinnati Councilman Cecil Thomas: Dem Says He's 100% Pro-Lifer

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Democrats now hold five of the nine Cincinnati City Council seats up for election Nov. 6, and incumbent Cecil Thomas is considered by many political watchers as the candidate most on the bubble. He's now split with his party on a volatile issue it strongly supports -- legalized abortion -- and has told Right-to-Life of Greater Cincinnati he wants Roe v. Wade reversed. Thomas is a former police officer endorsed by the AFL-CIO and the Cincinnati teachers' union, but he sounds like a conservative Republican on abortion, which he favors banning in the United States.

He is the only Democratic incumbent who has staked out a total anti-abortion position on the right-to-life candidates' survey, and some Dems are wondering if Thomas really has his heart in the party. Others say the Dems should have room for those whose religious views equate abortion with murder -- a position that runs 180 degrees opposite from the Democrats' official position on the issue.

Thomas was elected two years ago. This year, he says in a right-to life candidate's survey that Roe should be overturned.

"Yes. I do not believe in abortion. My God said, 'I knew you before you were in your mother's womb.'"

He also said no tax funds should be given to organization that promote or perform abortions, and that city health benefits should not include abortion coverage.

He said he supports Ohio legislation preventing assisted suicide, too, and agrees with President Bush that human embryos should not be destroyed to extract stem cells for scientific research. On the latter, he is again completely at odds with his party.

The 2004 Democratic platform makes clear that abortion rights and stem cell research are bedrock issues (pdf). The abortion plank is on page 38:

"We will defend the dignity of all Americans against those who would undermine it. Because we believe in the privacy and equality of women, we stand proudly for a woman's right to choose, consistent with Roe v Wade, and regardless of her ability to pay. We stand firmly against Republican efforts to undermine that right. At the same time, we strongly support family planning and adoption incentives. Abortion should be safe, legal, and rare."

The Democrats' stem cell plank is on page 31, and again Thomas parts company from its words:

"President Bush has rejected calls from Nancy Reagan, Christopher Reeve and Americans across the land for assistance with embryonic stem cell research. We will reverse his wrongheaded policy. Stem cell therapy offers hope to more than 100 million Americans who have serious illnesses -- from Alzheimer's to heart disease to juvenile diabetes to Parkinson's. We will pursue this research under the strictest ethical guidelines, but we will not walk away from the chance to save lives and reduce human suffering."

[UPDATE: 10/26/07 7:35 a.m. -- Democratic Councilman John Cranley, the OH-01 congressional candidate in 2006, also favors reversing Roe v. Wade. But Cranley, who went to college under the Jesuits at John Carroll University in suburban Cleveland, does not favor a complete abortion ban. He says state and federal legislation aimed at outlawing abortion should have room for exceptions.]

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