Kevin Nicholson has worked hard to change his image from youthful college Democrat to buttoned-up conservative Republican, but there's one issue that might ruin it all: He once lauded a pro-abortion rights group.
In a world where the President of the United States can comment about grabbing and kissing women without their consent, it seems absurd that supporting a woman's right to choose how to govern her own body nearly two decades ago would be enough to jeopardize someone's political career, but this is where we are: It's more controversial to want to provide life-saving family planning services to women than it is to assault them.
According to the Star Tribune, GOP Senate candidate Nicholson served as the head of the College Democrats of America back in 2000, when he reportedly wrote a letter to EMILY's List, an organization that supports pro-choice women running for public office, asking for a $10,000 donation. He also told the group he thought there was "great potential for a strong partnership."
Now, Nicholson is adamant that his stance on abortion has changed — although it's unclear whether his stance on taking money from groups created with the sole purpose of supporting women has budged — and blames his opponent, Democrat Tammy Baldwin, for digging up his past.
"It's pathetic to see Tammy Baldwin and her liberal allies dredging up decades old material from Kevin's college days," Nicholson's campaign spokesman Michael Antonopoulos told the Tribune.
Nicholson, too, has talked about his anti-abortion views and his decision to become a conservative, citing his service in the U.S. Marines and his family as the main factors.
"The one thing in life you cannot compromise are your principles," he said in the above campaign video. "I'm strongly pro-life. I've seen innocent children killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. And here in this country, it is unacceptable for our government to systematically allow the lives of innocent children to be taken."
What Nicholson fails to mention is that by advocating for the eradication of abortion clinics, he's implying women's health and lives and their healthcare needs aren't as valuable as anyone else's. He's also overlooking the fact that pulling funding from family planning services like Planned Parenthood doesn't actually decrease the number of abortions. In reality, studies have shown it increases both the number of both abortions and pregnancies.
But those facts don't seem to matter to Nicholson, who wants to represent the same state in which lawmakers are trying to pass a bill that would prevent resident physicians at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from learning how to perform abortions.