As of yesterday, the pro-choice political action committee Emily’s List has started gearing up for the 2012 election by putting five GOP freshman “on notice.” On the list: Rep. Allen West, R-Fort Lauderdale.
West made it to a list of five conservative freshman representatives who meet a “special criteria” for Emily’s List. One: They have been exceedingly anti-choice and anti-woman for such a short amount of time in office. And two: There is a Democratic woman angling to take the seat. Also on the list are Reps. Charlie Bass, R-N.H., Chip Cravaack, R-Minn., Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., and Joe Heck, R-Nev.
In a press release circulated yesterday, Emily’s List explained that West “voted for H.R. 1, the House Republicans’ budget that’s vehemently anti-woman and anti-family – it would cut funding for prenatal care, completely defund family planning, make it harder for low-income women to afford a college education, and wreak havoc with Social Security and Medicare.”
It’s not just West’s voting record that is troublesome. On his campaign website, West posted:
There are pro-abortion groups that advocate abortion at all costs, even at the expense of the mother. These groups promote abortion as a means of birth control and have developed a multi-million dollar industry out of this culture of death. This is simply unacceptable. And, partial birth abortion is nothing short of an abomination. I believe all future discussion on this issue should move us toward the elimination of abortion except in the most extraordinary of circumstances. Current law is poorly constructed and it is the opinion of many constitutional attorneys that abortion is not a privacy issue, as stated in the Roe v. Wade decision.
His track record with women, in general, has come under fire. During his campaign, West was tied to a motorcycle club called the “Outlaws,” which he also defended once allegations came out that the club had a criminal past that includes prostitution. West was also a columnist at a motorcycle magazine called Wheels on the Road — a publication that has referred to women as “oral relief stations.”
In a town hall late last month, West joined in on the rhetoric of a national conservative ad campaign linking race and abortions. The ads even made their way to North Florida. During a discussion about West cosponsoring a bill that would eliminate funds for Planned Parenthood, a woman in the audience pointed out that many low-income women rely on the services of Planned Parenthood for things like pap smears and STD testing. West’s reply was, “It is absolutely offensive to me that Planned Parenthood is located in so many of our black communities.”
West also made his stance on abortion clear this past February during the über-conservative CPAC convention. He said, “I do not believe having a baby is a punishment.”