Criticism of Schwarzenegger’s Support for Abortion Rights Limited
The San Diego Union-Tribune on Wednesday considered the limited criticism of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) for his support of abortion rights, compared with criticism of other Catholic lawmakers. Schwarzenegger is "perhaps the nation's most prominent Republican Catholic who favors abortion rights," the Union-Tribune reports. Sacramento Bishop William Wiegand in January 2003 publicly criticized then-Gov. Gray Davis (D) for supporting abortion rights while professing to be a Catholic, but Wiegand has refrained from publicly addressing Schwarzenegger's position on the issue. A spokesperson for Wiegand said that the bishop's advice that Catholic politicians who support abortion rights voluntarily refrain from receiving Communion also applies to Schwarzenegger, according to the Union-Tribune.
Julie Brown, president of the Virginia-based Catholic group American Life League, which opposes abortion rights, said, "Schwarzenegger is getting special treatment from those bishops in California. I don't know why." However, the league's recent $500,000 advertising campaign asking bishops to deny Communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion rights did not mention Schwarzenegger and only named Democrats, including presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry (Mass.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Sen. Edward Kennedy (Mass.). Schwarzenegger spokesperson Rob Stutzman said he thinks the governor has avoided attacks in part because he does not talk about his support for abortion frequently. Stutzman said, "It's not something that's part of his discourse" (Ainsworth, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.