Schaffer: What Forced Abortions? I Didn’t See Any Forced Abortions

April 21, 2008 12:39 p.m.

Bob Schaffer’s Jack Abramoff problem isn’t going away.

Ever since the Colorado Republican Senate candidate declared that he thought the guest worker system used in the Northern Mariana Islands was so great that it ought to be exported to the mainland, the media has been on his back. And now a conservative organization has jumped into the fray, a spokesman for Colorado’s Right to Life telling The Denver Post that Schaffer’s boosterism for the Marianas meant he was no pro-life advocate: “The pro-life movement will no longer give a pass to candidates like Bob Schaffer who look the other way when Chinese women are forced to abort their children.”

Schaffer’s response to the comment was twofold. First, he made clear that he didn’t question the veracity of federal investigations that found instances of Chinese guest workers being forced to get abortions. But he wants everyone to know that he did his due diligence as a crack investigator when he went on his trip to the islands in 1999 — which was organized and managed by Jack Abramoff, the Northern Mariana Islands government, and the garment manufacturers. And, try as he might, he just couldn’t find any evidence of it:

Schaffer, who visited the Marianas in 1999 while in Congress, said allegations of forced abortions were among the things he looked into on that trip.

“I absolutely did not look the other way on this issue,” Schaffer said, saying he interviewed “dozens” of workers and met with local religious leaders about the topic….

Schaffer said during his visit he tried to determine how often abortions occurred.

“In five days, I did not observe a forced abortion or meet anybody who had any knowledge of them,” he said, adding that no subsequent examples were ever brought to him.

The comment from Colorado’s Right to Life has sparked something of an intra-pro-life activist battle, with Colorado’s Citizens for Life calling Colorado’s Right to Life’s criticism “simply irrational.”

Support The TPM Journalism Fund
  • Contributions allow us to hire more journalists
  • Contributions allow us to provide free memberships to those who cannot afford them
  • Contributions support independent, non-corporate journalism
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Senior Editor:
Special Projects Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front-End Developer:
Senior Designer: