- The Washington Times - Monday, October 30, 2000

The candidates in Virginia's Senate race are slugging it out on the airwaves over abortion and viewers are being left to sift through the charges and decide which man they prefer.
The issue has suddenly supplanted Republican challenger George F. Allen's education-tax-credit plan as the focus of the election as both campaigns explicitly try to appeal to women.
In one television ad, Mr. Allen tells viewers that incumbent Sen. Charles S. Robb, a Democrat, "opposes real parental notification," voted for late-term, partial-birth abortions and supports federal funding for abortions for women on Medicaid.
The state Democratic Party responded with its own ad defending Mr. Robb, arguing that "like most Virginians, Robb supports parental notification and banning late-term abortions." The ad then goes on to say that Mr. Allen "wants government to impose new restrictions on legal abortions in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Earlier this week, Mr. Robb appeared at a rally with Kate Michelman, president of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League. On Friday, Mr. Robb's campaign manager and spokesman held a telephone news conference to say the fact that Mr. Allen is running these ads shows his campaign is slipping.
Republicans counter that, on the issues likely to come before the Senate, Mr. Allen is closer to Virginians than Mr. Robb.
The clearest difference between the two is on the underlying concept of abortions.
Mr. Robb declares his guiding principle to be Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that gave women an absolute right to an abortion before the fetus is viable outside the mother's womb but allowed states some leeway after that point.
He has been the sponsor of several pieces of legislation to establish the precepts of Roe vs. Wade including the right to abortions up through viability, or 24 to 28 weeks as the sense of Congress.
Mr. Allen has voted against similar measures during his time as a U.S. congressman and state delegate.
He has consistently held that, should the courts return the issue to legislatures, abortions should be legal up until a heartbeat or brain waves are detectable. That's some time in the first trimester, he says.
But Mr. Allen also says the broader issue of abortions is unlikely to come before the Senate.
He said that on the issues that the Senate perennially votes on, he'll vote differently than Mr. Robb, including supporting a stricter ban on dilation and extraction abortions, commonly called partial-birth abortions, and opposing federal funding for abortions.

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