News & Politics

Sharron Angle: Rape, Incest Part of God's Plan -- Opposes Abortion No Matter What

The Nevada GOP nominee for Senate thinks abortion should not be allowed even in cases of rape and incest.

For most of her campaign for U.S. Senate, Nevada GOP nominee Sharron Angle's election strategy has consisted of avoiding reporters so she doesn't get tricked into saying things publicly. Last night's interview on Jon Ralston's "Face to Face" is one of the few times since winning the GOP nomination that Angle has braved a media outlet that was not a wingnut blog or Fox News.

Fortunately, Angle has already said enough crazy shit to hobble spin efforts designed to paint her as less of an extremist for the general election. In a January interview with conservative talk show host David Manders, Angle explained her views on abortion. As with most responsible policy positions, the inspiration for Angle's stance comes from God (clearly, the Old Testament God who is really into incest and rape):

MANDERS: I too am pro-life, but I'm also pro-choice. Do you understand what I say when I mean that?
ANGLE: Well, I'm pro-responsible choice. There's choice to abstain, choice to use contraceptives ... there's all kinds of good choice....
MANDERS: Is there any reason at all for an abortion?
ANGLE: Not in my book.
MANDERS: So, in other words, rape and incest would not be something?
ANGLE: You know, I’m a Christian, and I believe that God has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives and that he can intercede in all kinds of situations and we need to have a little faith in many things.

Angle, whose rival for the GOP nomination was felled by the chickens-for-checkups scandal, is a particularly radical example of the ultraconservatives who have parlayed popularity with the Tea Party into GOP nominations. For six years in the 1990s Angle belonged to the Independent American Party -- the Nevada affiliate of the fringe Constitution Party, whose platform advocates a return of "American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations." In a 1992 petition to get the IAP on the Nevada state ballot, signed by Angle and obtained by Talking Points Memo, the group calls for the federal government to cut foreign aid and welfare and "stop the financing of the New World Order." The IAP also published a virulently anti-gay newspaper insert that accused LGBT people of advocating for pedophilia and incest and claimed that HIV can be transmitted through water.

Angle ditched the IAP to become more electable. But the GOP nominee has continued to spout positions that put her comically outside the mainstream. On her campaign Web site, Angle advocates for abolishing the Department of Education, writing that the Department is "unconstitutional" and "should not be involved in education on any level." Angle has called for the elimination of Social Security, not quite specifying how this would come about but promoting privatization for young workers. Some other government departments and actions that don't meet Angle's stringent standards of constitutionality that she'd like to see eliminated, according to an interview for the Nevada News and Views, are "the Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, IRS code, audit the FED leading to cuts, National Endowment of the Arts, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, Planned Parenthood funding."

Like most conservatives, Angle doesn't mind the government restricting personal liberties: she thinks marijuana should stay illegal and that alcohol should be made illegal. She does, however, vow to protect big oil and mining against government interference. In a radio interview with right-wing Web site ResistNet, Angle said that if elected she would take a stand against government regulation of the "oil and petroleum industry."

Pushing for deregulation of the oil industry while evidence of its catastrophic effects gushes in the Gulf is the norm for Republicans these days, but Angle's position on abortion is not. The GOP might rely on anti-choice propaganda to rally the base, while conservative state lawmakers pursue severe abortion restrictions on the local and state levels. But few GOP politicos publicly support forcing victims of incest and rape to carry children to term against their will. That kind of anti-choice extremism falls squarely in Operation Rescue territory.

Needless to say, it's a radical right position that does not sit well with most Americans; a JanuaryABC News/Washington Post poll found that eight in 10 Americans support abortion in cases of rape or incest or when the mother's life is in danger.

Angle still has a slight lead over Reid in the polls, though Reid is happily exploiting her radical affiliations and crazy soundbites in ads. Is her latest crazy stance right-wing enough to turn off even conservative voters?