Dumped By National Anti-Choice Group Over Marriage Stand, Cleveland Right to Life Pushes Back

On Monday, Brian wrote about an interesting schism emerging within one of the nation’s largest anti-choice groups, National Right to Life.

When Ohio Sen. Rob Portman announced earlier this year that, inspired by his openly gay son, he had switched his position to support marriage equality, the National Right to Life’s Cleveland affiliate announced that it would no longer support Portman. In response, National Right to Life cut ties with the Cleveland group, citing its “public criticisms of and implicit political threats against a U.S. Senator who has supported the right-to-life position” over “a non-right-to-life issue.”

Although National Right to Life’s letter [PDF] was sent in July, it hit the news this week when Cleveland Right to Life decided to fight back, releasing the letter to the media,  alleging “coordination” between Sen. Portman’s office and the national group and asking, “How can you be for the child if you are not for the family?”

Yesterday, Cleveland Right to Life President Molly Smith took the group’s case to the Steve Deace show, where she speculated that National Right to Life dropped her chapter because they are “terrified about Sen. Portman’s position and the fact that they might lose his support on his pro-life stance.”

Smith told Deace that she had met with Portman and that “he assures us he’s never going to abandon the pro-life cause when it comes to abortion and the issues we’ve just spoken about.”

“But when it comes to gay marriage, he’s 100 percent behind his son,” she said. “That’s not pro-life!”

Deace was skeptical that Portman would hold onto his opposition to abortion rights.  “Does that mean that if he has a daughter that has an abortion, he changes his mind on that too, Molly?” he asked. Smith responded, “Absolutely.”

Smith concluded her interview with an odd caveat: “Even as I say all of this, Steve, I feel so terrible, because this is a very private matter for Sen. Portman’s family.”

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