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Pro-choice woman explains why she’s still a Republican

August 29th, 2012
05:53 PM ET

By Samuel Burke, CNN

“Republicans are for getting government out of the board room, so they should be for getting the government out of the bedroom,” says Ann Stone from the floor of her party’s convention in Florida. She is the chairwoman of a group called Republicans for Choice.

Talking with CNN’s Ali Velshi about abortion on Wednesday, Stone said, “If we really, truly believe [in] individual rights, this is a position that is totally antithetical to everything else the Republican Party stands for.”

The subject of abortion blew the doors off the American presidential race last week, when Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin laid out his thoughts about abortion in the case of rape. Akin said, “If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

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“That man is a class in and of himself,” Stone says dismissively. “This is not real science. And Akin actually believes this stuff.”

Stone believes Akin’s statements will backfire and result in him not winning in the forthcoming election.

“So now, hopefully, there’s going to be some reassessing and certainly we’re going to talk to the party leadership about. In fact, maybe vetting people who go on the science committee in Congress a little more closely to make sure they don’t have these crazy ideas like Akin does.”

Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney called for Akin to quit the Senate race. But Akin’s position that abortion should be illegal in all circumstances is, in fact, written into the Republican platform.

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Romney has a more nuanced view. While he is now generally opposed to abortion, he told CBS, “I’m in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest and the health and life of the mother.” Though after he made that statement, Romney’s spokesperson, Andrea Saul, clarified that the "health of the mother" exception pertains only in cases when a woman’s life is at risk.

Unlike in prior years, Stone did not have to attend this year’s Republican convention with a bodyguard. “That’s one of the ways I measure our progress,” she says.

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Stone believes that originally the anti-abortion stance of the Republican Party was just a means of expanding the party. “Mainly Republicans figured it was a sop to people whose votes they were trying to court. They didn’t think it would ever catch up with them.”

But she says that changed after that first Supreme Court decision to limit Roe v Wade in 1989. “That’s when it started causing trouble,” she says. “In fact, it’s one of the things that led to George Bush I losing his reelection.”

When Velshi asked Stone why she doesn’t leave the party when its anti-abortion position is such a clear part of their platform, she's defiant. “People who believe in women’s rights, people who cherish this right to choose want me to stay in the party. You want me where the fight is. In fact, I’ve invited more people to come and join me. One of the problems is a lot of people who think like me have left out of disgust. Well, that was the wrong thing to do. They’ve ceded territory to the other side.”

Stone says she is still assessing whether she and her group will work for Romney. She says she doesn’t see them endorsing him.

“I will say this: Obama has been a great unifier for the Republican Party. You have a lot people that are pro choice that told me this time ‘please don’t make a lot of trouble’ because it’s more important that we get rid of Barack Obama and we’ll deal with Mitt Romney and his people afterwards.”

But when asked if she’ll vote for Romney she’s reluctant to answer. “That’s my personal choice… At this point the question is still open.”

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