Tom Kean, Jr. and the Abortion Question


“I support a woman’s right to choose,” CD-7 Republican candidate Thomas H. Kean Jr. declared at a forum Sunday night.

In fact, the former state legislator said he has done so throughout his career.

Kean may have intended to put the issue to rest, but things soon became a bit muddled when he added:

“Like most New Jerseyans, I support reasonable restrictions.”

What are they?

Kean said, “Those include life and (the) physical and mental health of the mother and the baby, rape and incest for example …”

The problem was those conditions are not “restrictions” on abortion. They are usually seen as “exceptions” to abortion bans.

Common “restrictions” on abortion are such things as parental notification. a 24-hour waiting period and limiting abortion to a set number of weeks.

His answer seemed to confuse the audience. One member asked if Kean supported the right to choose or not.

“I just said I did,” he replied.

Abortion is always a passionate issue; more so this year after the overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court in June. Democrats have made the court decision and their support for a woman’s right to choose their main talking point – in New Jersey and across the nation – as the midterm election nears.

The Sunday event was sponsored by the United Jewish Federation and featured Kean and his opponent, incumbent Tom Malinowski, appearing back-to-back. They answered many of the same questions.

Malinowski, who spoke first, called the court’s action a “terrible decision,” adding that bad things are already happening. He cited reports of women in some states struggling to get needed medication simply because the drugs they need are ones that can be used to terminate pregnancies. He said he supports federal action to legalize abortion rights nationwide.

After Kean’s initial comments on abortion, the issue was raised again a few minutes later and the GOP candidate essentially repeated his earlier response.

Kean’s campaign was asked today if it wished to clarify the candidate’s remarks. There has been no response yet, but according to the Gothamist, an online news site, Kean said after the forum that he supported unrestricted abortion up to 20 weeks. Afterwards, it would be banned except for – as he said Sunday – in the case of rape, incest or the life of the mother or baby.

Malinowski on Sunday criticized Kean for opposing state legislation codifying Roe v. Wade in New Jersey as a state senator, a job he held through mid-January of this year.

Kean said he voted “no” on that bill, because it sanctions late term abortion.

There were other issues raised at the forum, one of which was Iran and the possible reinstatement of a nuclear deal that was ended by President Trump.

Malinowski said Iran should never develop nuclear weapons and that getting them back in compliance with the agreement was the “best of our bad options.”

Kean, citing Iran’s support for terrorism, said rekindling the deal was the wrong way to go.

More generally, both candidates in this highly competitive race reiterated campaign themes.

Kean condemned rising inflation and high gas prices that have flourished with Democrats controlling Washington.

Malinowski was more philosophical, saying something is wrong with our politics when election deniers and such extreme conspiracy groups as Q-anon proliferate.

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