Flier says White supports abortion

White says Terry's lying, undermining his religion

Terry leads White in fundraising

Published Saturday, October 2, 2010: By Robynn Tysver, OMAHA WORLD-HERALD

Democrat Tom White accused his opponent, Republican Rep. Lee Terry, of lying about his views on abortion and possibly damaging the Catholic’s relationship with his church.

“It’s despicable,” White said about a campaign flier in which Terry accuses White of supporting “abortion on demand.”

Terry says he stands by the flier, which says White’s support of President Barack Obama’s health care law translates into support for using federal dollars for elective abortions.

“This is all factual. I’m not attacking him personally,” Terry said of White.

The war of words comes as White and Terry enter the home stretch of their campaigns for the Omaha-area 2nd Congressional District seat, with 30 days left before the Nov. 2 election. White, a state senator, is trying to oust Terry, a six-term congressman.

Both men are on record as opposing abortion. But their current dispute revolves around conflicting views about what impact, if any, the new health care law has on abortions.

White has said he would have supported the health care overhaul legislation with some qualms. Terry voted against it.

Abortion-rights opponents say the law will allow federal dollars to be used, either directly or indirectly, for abortion. Supporters of the law say that is not true. Federal law prohibits taxpayer funds from being used to pay for abortions.

Under a compromise added to the health care law, some people can get a federal subsidy to buy health insurance, including policies that cover abortions, but policy holders must pay for any abortion coverage with their own separate personal check.

White is not the only politician whose abortion views have been questioned in light of their support for the health care law.

U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson, a fellow Democrat, angered abortion-rights opponents when he voted for the health care bill, but he said the compromise guaranteed that no federal dollars would be used to pay for abortions.

Nebraska Right to Life disagreed. After endorsing and supporting his political career for nearly two decades, they vowed to fight against Nelson if he seeks re-election in 2012.

The organization has endorsed Terry in the congressional race. However, Nebraska Right to Life typically endorses anti-abortion incumbents with voting records in support of their issues.

The campaign flier produced and mailed by Terry’s campaign states in big, bold letters that “Tom White Supports Taxpayer Abortion on Demand.”

White said he has always opposed abortion, considering the stance a tenet of his religious beliefs. He said he feared he could be denied communion in the Catholic Church if a priest believed he supported abortion.

In the past, some Catholic leaders have denied communion to high-profile politicians who support abortion rights.

“The idea that I may walk into a church at a friend’s daughter’s or son’s wedding and the priest could deny communion is incredibly painful,” said White.

Terry said that if White was denied communion, it would not be the congressman’s fault.

“You only get to press two buttons — yes or no,” Terry said, “and if it was a concern for him, he should have said, ‘I will not vote for this bill.’”


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