At this point I have no idea if Daniel Cameron is auditioning to be the high priest of Gilead or Margaret Sanger’s best friend, but it looks as though the most recent public polling — which showed him eight points down — has put his messaging in a twist.
“If our legislature was to bring legislation before me that provided exceptions for rape and incest, I would sign that legislation,” Cameron said on a local radio show on Monday. “There’s no question about that.”
Except there are many questions about that.
Until Monday, Cameron had never signaled that he would be open to exceptions in Kentucky’s extreme abortion ban. Until Monday, in both words and deeds, he had stood staunchly behind Kentucky’s trigger law after the Dobbs decision and Kentucky’s own fetal heartbeat bill, which has virtually eliminated abortion in our state. He said so in at least two debates, and his office argued in favor of the current laws in front of the Kentucky Supreme Court.
These have had real life consequences for Kentucky women, like one whose baby had no brain, but who was forced to carry to term, or another who had to seek an out of state termination because even though her baby’s anomaly would kill him and possibly give her cancer, her doctors did not think they could help her.
Cameron didn’t even seem open to helping doctors in Kentucky by encouraging legislators to make Kentucky’s exceptions for the life of the mother more specific about fetal anomalies that might require termination as more progressive states — like, ahem, Louisiana — has done.
It’s also worth pointing out that Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, did file a bill allowing exceptions, and it didn’t even get a committee hearing. So Cameron can hide behind the extreme supermajority in the legislature.
Voters are going to get confused. Nor has he helped explain his position on birth control, which he was for, apparently before he filled out the Northern Kentucky Right to Life questionnaire saying he was against it.
Now this questionnaire conflates abortion and birth control, which for some extremists are one and the same. But Cameron should read more carefully. Some of his fellow GOP candidates did so and left the questions blank.
I’ll take Cameron at his word that he supports birth control, which is, after all, the best way to avoid abortion. What I find more alarming is that Cameron said he opposed Medicaid funding for birth control, which is a way many poor women receive it. Luckily, Medicaid is a federal program, thus immune from the vagaries of gubernatorial candidates.
It would be interesting to see Cameron’s internal polling with women, moderates, and suburbanites, the same people who stopped a constitutional amendment that he supported to make an abortion ban permanent.
All this to say, Cameron’s new positions are fooling very few. You can’t drum up the base and appeal to suburban moderates at the same time. Just as teachers don’t buy Cameron’s crocodile tear apologies now that he needs their votes, women know that we’re close enough to a Margaret Atwood dystopian novel as it is. With our personal freedoms on the line, we can’t risk playing footsie with a politician whose views change with every new poll.