Op-Ed, Benjamin Hodge on Kansas 3rd District: Because Kevin Yoder supports federal funding of human cloning research, I can’t support him in the Republican primary.

Hodge at Red County:

In summary: Don’t endorse Kevin Yoder in the Republican primary, and then be expected to be considered pro-life.

I’ve been told by a person close to influential Republican Ernie Straub that, of the current field of candidates, Straub is leaning towards supporting Kevin Yoder.  That points to a larger problem within Kansas Republican politics, in part because Kansans for Life leader Mary Kay Culp is thought to listen closely to Straub.  Kevin Yoder supports the use of federal tax dollars for medical research that clones and destroys human embryos — that’s not pro-life, and it’s not even pro-choice.

I welcome a pro-choice philosophy within Republican politics.  I’ll repeat this:  I consider a pro-choice position to be philosophically compatible with today’s Republican party.  To be clear, I am fully pro-life, and I will fight for a continuation of the Republican party’s pro-life platform.  But I will not turn away or consider “un-Republican” those voters and politicians who hold to a pro-choice position.

Let’s define “pro-choice,” though:

  • A pro-choice position that’s compatible with Republicanism doesn’t support Roe v. Wade.  A pro-choice position supports a correct interpretation — an “originalist” or “constructionist” interpretation — of the US Constitution, which means that Roe v. Wade needs to be over-turned, so that most abortion-related legislation is returned to the states.
  • As it relates to congressional candidate Kevin Yoder:  a pro-choice position doesn’t force me to pay for the destruction of human life.

recently wrote the following, by which I stand:  “This is a great group of candidates in the Republican primary. No matter the winner, I will be an enthusiastic supporter and I’ll gladly be putting a bumper sticker on my car. Relatedly, I’m confident that no matter the Republican nominee, he or she WILL beat Democrat Stephene Moore.”

The above statement means exactly what it states:  I will enthusiastically support Kevin Yoder in the general election, if Yoder wins the Republican primary on August 3.  Having served with Yoder in the Kansas Legislature, and having talked with him since, I’m fully confident that Yoder would vote against the use of taxpayer funding for abortions.  I’m fully confident that Yoder would vote in a pro-life manner on late-term abortion legislation (“late-term” is generally considered to be post-21 weeks, for fetuses in the womb).  I’m somewhat confident that Yoder will vote in a pro-life manner, on anything else relating to fetuses, no matter the age of the fetus.  Compared to Democrat Stephene Moore, Kevin Yoder is almost James Dobson on the pro-life issue, and this, combined with Yoder’s positions on all kinds of other issues, is why I will gladly support Kevin Yoder in the general election.

But this is not yet the general election, and there are plenty of other fully pro-life Republicans who will also be able to handily beat Stephene Moore.

Importantly, I’ve asked Yoder point-blank if he would pledge to vote against taxpayer funding of human cloning research, and he said, no.  I’m not talking here about laws banning private companies from creating and then destroying human embryos; rather, I’m talking about the use of federal taxpayer dollars for this research.  That’s not pro-choice, and neither is that in line with a correct interpretation of 10th amendment of the US Constitution (to summarize: “if you don’t see it written here, Congress isn’t supposed to be doing it.”)

Today, I’ve heard rumors that a couple of pro-life Kansas House members are considering supporting Kevin Yoder.  I hope this isn’t true.  I hope that the politicians who have been put into office with an enormous amount of support from the area pro-life community, will now be working hard to use their influence to support fully pro-life candidates, when it’s possible.


Connect with Hodge on YouTubeFacebook, his Web site, at Kansans for Government ReformTwitter, and Kansas Progress. From 2005-’09, Hodge represented 300,000 voters and 50,000 students at Johnson County Community College. He served in the Kansas House from 2007-’08. His record is recognized by AFP, the NRA, the Kansas Press Association, the Kansas Broadcasters Association, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.

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