GOLDRICK: "Obsitnik's silence on the issue of choice is deafening"

UPDATE: Steve Obsitnik's campaign responded to Goldrick...the following is his update -ctblogger

"After I submitted my column regarding Steve Obsitnik's position on reproductive rights last week, and after several attempts over more than three weeks to contact his campaign, I did hear from Mr. Obsitnik's press aide Amanda Bergen.  However Ms. Bergen refused to answer any of my specific questions regarding Mr. Obsitnik's positions on choice.  Ms. Bergen repeatedly declined to state that Mr. Obsitnik supports Roe v Wade, refused to state how he would vote on federal legislation outlawing abortion should Roe be overturned by the Supreme Court, and refused to state whether he supported the Affordable Care Act's mandate that contraception be covered in insurance policies.  Further, the Obsitnik campaign declined Greenwich Post's offer of space in which to explain the candidate's position on reproductive rights in detail.  The point of my column was clear: Mr. Obsitnik refuses to make clear his stand on the critical issues of reproductive rights.  His continued silence is deafening."

Cross posting from Sean Goldrick's column via Greenwich Post

The submarine fleet, in which Republican congressional candidate Steve Obsitnik served part of his five years in the U.S. Navy, is known as the "silent service." Unfortunately, Mr. Obsitnik has gone on to adopt that practice of silence for his campaign, remaining mum on virtually every issue.

It took until late August, nine months after he declared his candidacy, for him to put up an "issues" page on his website and the positions he has taken are vague in the extreme. Among the issues on which Mr. Obsitnik has maintained almost total silence is reproductive rights.

NARAL Pro Choice Connecticut's website states that "Steve Obsitnik has no known position on choice," and since he's never held elective office at any level, he also has no voting record. Recently he posted on his website that he supports "women's reproductive choice as well as education to reduce unplanned pregnancies." Yet there are no details to that position.

It's understandable that Mr. Obsitnik would want to claim to be pro-choice. An August Quinnipiac poll revealed that 69% of Connecticut residents believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. But is he truly pro-choice or will he reverse himself once elected and side with his party's anti-abortion leadership?

I emailed Mr. Obsitnik's press aides questions regarding his positions on choice three times, but never received a reply. I wanted to know if he supported the Supreme Court's majority decision in Roe v Wade, whether, if Roe were overturned by this conservative Supreme Court, he would vote on a federal law banning abortion, and does he support continued federal funding for Planned Parenthood? Like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, the Republican ticket he says he supports, would he favor cutting all federal funding for the organization?

Would he have voted for HR 3, which would ban abortion coverage in health insurance policies marketed as part of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, and add tax penalties to small businesses that purchased insurance policies for their employees that included abortion coverage? Does he oppose requiring hospitals to offer abortion services to any woman whose life is threatened by the pregnancy?

And when he mentions "education" to reduce unwanted pregnancies, does Mr. Obsitnik mean that he wants to go back to the Bush administration's antediluvian abstinence only sex education policy? Or does he support the Obama administration's enlightened policy that emphasizes "comprehensive teen pregnancy prevention programs that focus on boosting academic achievement, extracurricular activities and smarter life decisions"?

In contrast, the incumbent, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, has been forthright on reproductive rights, compiling a voting record that is rated 100% by Planned Parenthood, NARAL Pro Choice America, and the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association. He voted against HR 3, and strongly supported requiring insurance companies provide contraceptive coverage at no cost. Mr. Himes also emphasizes his support for the availability of critical family planning services and access to comprehensive sex education.

Silence is important for submarines. But a candidate who remains silent on critical issues like reproductive choice, which is under attack from Republicans, should be rejected by the voters loud and clear.

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