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Florida Right to Life endorses Pinellas House member once labeled 'pro-abortion'

Republican state Rep. Kathleen Peters was endorsed this week by the antiabortion group Florida Right to Life, which doesn't sound surprising on the surface.

Except for one thing: Less than a year ago, National Right to Life labeled her a "pro-abortion state Rep." and claimed she had a "100% pro-abortion voting record."

Peters said on Friday she was pleased to receive the state group's endorsement because it reflects her "core values."

"I've been a child advocate my entire life," Peters said.

A National Right to Life spokeswoman did not directly address the contradictory positions, but said in a statement that "our affiliates and their political committees are separate, autonomous entities, so you can check with them if they've endorsed."

Matt Ozolnieks, chairman of the Florida Right to Life Political Action Committee, did not have a specific explanation for the different stances, but noted candidates' positions can "mature." Also, the national group tends to examine candidate views on federal legislation, while state groups tend to focus on state matters, he said.

In a letter released by Peters' campaign on Friday, Florida Right to Life said its endorsement "reflects your ongoing commitment to strengthening the culture for life throughout your time in elected office."

But last December, National Right to Life apparently thought the opposite.

At the time, Peters was a candidate for the Republican nomination to the Pinellas congressional seat that was left vacant by the death of Republican U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young. She was running against two other Republicans.

National Right to Life said in December that David Jolly, who ended up winning, "is the only candidate in the GOP primary who has taken a pro-life stand. State Rep. Kathleen Peters has a 100% pro-abortion voting record — even voting against a ban on sex-selection abortions."

Those comments were in an online article written by National Right to Life's political director and remained on the group's news website on Friday.

Peters' campaign manager complained at the time that the article misrepresented Peters' positions.

Early in the congressional campaign, Peters at times made vague statements when asked her position on abortion, saying she thought it was mostly a private matter. But she eventually said, "I am absolutely pro-life."

Contact Curtis Krueger at ckrueger@tampabay.com or (727) 892-8232. Follow @ckruegertimes.

Florida Right to Life endorses Pinellas House member once labeled 'pro-abortion' 08/08/14 [Last modified: Friday, August 8, 2014 11:53pm]
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