Last night, the third mayoral debate occurred at the Wesley United Methodist Church. Audience participants were provided the opportunity to submit questions to be asked of the candidates. The final question of the night was:
“In what ways does your faith form your opinion of Planned Parenthood?“
Summarizing the candidates responses, in the order they answered the question: Richard Irvin: “… Planned Parenthood is bad for Aurora. … It’s an issue of how that organization … came into our city using deceptive practices.”
Stephanie Kifowit: “… as a family we are anti-abortion … I also believe … I cannot take a stand that I’m going to say I’m against something that is, of course, right now legal in the state.”
Tom Weisner: “If faith informed my actions in this case I might very well be violating my oath of office … There was no legal basis for me … to withhold the permit. I do take an oath to uphold the laws governing our city.”
Candidates Answers in Full
Here’s an incomplete, but fairly accurate transcription of the final question:
- “In what ways does your faith form your opinion of Planned Parenthood?”
- Richard Irvin:
- “I think Planned Parenthood is bad for Aurora. And it’s not simply an issue of abortion. It’s an issue of how that organization … came into our city using deceptive practices.
- Now this organization came into our city calling itself Gemini Construction. It pooled all its permits under this name … permits from our city to build this 20 foot high wall … bulletproof glass, cameras all around it, 14 recovery rooms and our city fathers, or leaders at the time, suggested that they had no clue what was going on with that building over there.
- And then, when they opened the doors, they threw up this big, old sign saying we’re Planned Parenthood without giving our citizens an opportunity to speak out against it, without giving our citizens an opportunity to say anything, maybe we don’t want you to come to town and maybe we could have fought against this big organization, but the fact is that we were never given a chance to try, never given a voice from the very beginning, and I believe that we should have.
- You know, if this were an asbestos company opening up a shop three blocks down the street from a high school or a strip club, I would expect, you know, our city fathers would have been angry. We weren’t angry enough. The mayor was not angry enough, which suggests to me that he knew all along.”
- Stephanie Kifowit:
- “Thank you. This is by far the number one question that I’ve been asked on the campaign trail. And it is a very … issue.
- I am a mother of two children, and I realize how amazing life at birth is. To create a child from something so small is truly a miracle .. as a family we are anti-abortion.
- I sat down with my daughter, she is now eleven, and I told her that we would support her in any situation that she finds herself in, and if she finds herself in a situation where she feels that she cannot afford a child or have a child that we would be there for her, and raise it for her.
- I believe in … and that is my faith, I’m Lutheran, I was brought up that way. I also believe though that by the grace of God I have not been in situations that other individuals have been: rape, abuse, issues that are just inconceivable to me, so I cannot take a stand that I’m going to say I’m against something that is, of course, right now legal in the state and legal in the federal government because there are instances where an individual to heal, an individual to improve their life might have to go down that road.
- The only thing that I can do for that person is pray for them and hope that they find what they need under that procedure. I, I cannot imagine, imagine not being able, not having a child because it is truly , truly an act of God. I agree the City Council was not given any opportunity to act.”
- Tom Weisner:
- “Yeah, the question was how has my faith informed my … [Moderator interjects: “informed your opinion of Planned Parenthood”] Well, I think opinion is one thing, but to say that if faith informed my actions in this case I might very well be violating my oath of office that I took … under the constitution to follow the law.
- … and however, I took the unprecedented step of having the entire development process reviewed by two separate attorneys in a civil sense, and by a United States attorney in a criminal sense. No criminal conduct was found and there was no legal basis for me to instruct Building and Permits to withhold the permit. So according to the law, a permit was issued.
- And as mayor, I do take an oath to uphold the laws governing our city. And I do not, and should not, have the authority to ignore or disregard laws of our land, regardless of my personal beliefs. And that is the extent to which I can address that issue at this point because we are in litigation on this matter.”
Beacon Liveblog Coverage
Additional coverage was given by the Aurora Beacon in an article which contains a live blog by Dan Campana that was streamed during the debate. The following is a snippet from the live blog:
7:47 Last question: How does faith inform your feelings on Planned Parenthood. Irvin says PP bad for Aurora. Not about abortion, but about how they came into city. 7:48 “Our city fathers said they had absolutely no idea what was going on,” Irvin said. 7:49 Irvin says mayor knew all along. Weisner never got angry about it. 7:49 Kifowit says this in No. 1 thing she hears about it. She says she is anti-abortion. 7:49 [Kifowit says] “I believe in the family unit.” 7:50 Kifowit said council had no chance to act on it. 7:51 Weisner … if faith informed his action, he would violate his oath of office. He was disappointed in PP approach. 7:51 Says two attorneys reviewed it all, and Kane state’s attorney’s office cleared it, permits issued. 7:52 Cuts his comments short because of ongoing litigation. Closing time…
Every Voter Should Learn More
I encourage everyone reading this blog to learn more about the candidates, their positions, and their public record regarding Planned Parenthood in Aurora. God Bless, Roger P.S. If you have a clarification on the quotes above, or if I’ve misquoted or mis-transcribed anything, please bring it to my attention via a comment. My goal was to authentically transcribe the candidates answers as best as I was able.