With the furor over the comments of Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin still white-hot, the Susan B. Anthony List bus tour rolled into Madison on Tuesday, to a raucous stop at a downtown park. Protestors chanted Akin’s name, as speakers including Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch made their pro-life case.
“Wisconsin will stand for the most vulnerable. Wisconsin will stand for life,” said Kleefisch. She later spoke to reporters and strongly condemned Akin’s statements on rape – but stopped short of supporting abortion in cases of rape. “I don’t ever think it is the fault of the baby, for how they were conceived,” she said. “I’m not here today because of the Akin issue,” said Julaine Appling of Wisconsin Family Action. “I’m not going to get into the details of that. This is Wisconsin, that’s Missouri. We can all make missteps with our words. We need to get pro-life candidates elected at every level of government. Abortion is not healthcare. We cannot continue to abort America’s future.”
As Kleefisch, Appling and others spoke at James Madison Park, they were heckled by people in the crowd, some of whom chanted Akin’s name, and that of Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan. Ryan and Akin teamed up on a controversial bill defining life as beginning at conception. And both men share the view that abortion should be prohibited in cases of rape.
The event in Madison came on the same day that police in Grand Chute recommended a criminal charge against a woman who disrupted a rally for GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney last Friday and then spit in another woman’s face. While there was no spitting Tuesday, emotions were running high, and Madison police officers stood nearby. After the speakers had finished, two people on opposite sides of the abortion issue said they couldn’t agree with one another’s positions – but they could be civil to one another.
AUDIO: Diane and Greg (2:40)
“I don’t go and yell and scream, I don’t believe in doing that,” said Diane from Monona. “I don’t think there would be a middle ground, but that doesn’t mean I can love him and pray for him. Greg Kinsley, who told Diane that he loves her as well, also doesn’t see much chance for a middle way. “The religious aspect of this doesn’t allow a middle ground to be there,” he said. “But I do believe, along with most people in this country, that women have a choice.”