House 21 candidates on the issues: Would you describe yourself as pro-life or pro-choice?

Pro-choice activists outside the Supreme Court in June.
Pro-choice activists outside the Supreme Court in June.

With just days to go before the August 2 primaries, we’re delving into the candidates’ positions on the issues that matter most to Shawnee Mission Post readers. Each day this week we’re running responses from Dorothy Hughes and Neil Melton, the two Republicans in the District 21 House of Representatives primary, to questions submitted by Shawnee Mission Post readers. Today we ask about their views on abortion and reproductive rights:

Do you describe yourself as pro-choice or pro-life? Please explain your position in detail.

Dorothy Hughes

Dorothy_Hughes_16Kansas already has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, so as a state representative I plan to focus on issues that are the top priorities in our state: a balanced budget, public education, and local control. Focusing on wedge social issues does not move us forward. With that said, I acknowledge this is a deeply personal and emotional issue, and I respect views that are different from my own. Personally, I would choose life, but I cannot in good conscience make this decision for anyone else. In addition, I have serious concerns about the government being involved in this issue. I strongly object to the government infringing on doctor-patient confidentiality and families’ personal medical matters. I think we can all agree abortion is a terrible thing, and I would welcome discussions with anyone who is willing to thoughtfully consider how we can reduce abortions and compassionately address the circumstances that cause women and families to face such a difficult decision.

Neil Melton

Neil_melton_16For as long as I can remember I have considered myself pro-life. I believe in protecting the innocent, and those that are unable to help themselves. For me this starts with unborn children goes all the way to natural death. This is also why I believe in societal safety nets for those that cannot help themselves. The death penalty is a highly debated issue right now in the Republican Party. I believe that if you are going to sentence someone to death, they deserve a right to plead their case. With the litigation that goes on in these cases, many times it costs more to go through the legal process than it would to keep them in prison for life. There have also been plenty of cases of people being put to death innocently. Respect for human life at all levels, to me is fundamental.

Tomorrow we’ll publish the candidates’ responses to the fourth questionnaire item:

The Kansas Legislature has passed measures that forced cities to change their gun laws and change their election cycles. New state laws imposed a tax lid on cities and dictated the placement of political signs in public right-of-way. Many cities opposed this legislation and saw it as an intrusion on home rule. What do you think of these actions by the Legislature and how do you view the Legislature’s proper role in its relation to city and county government?