Abortion and campaigns; then and now

From Bob Dole in 1974 to this year's U.S. Senate race between Roger Marshall and Barbara Bollier, abortion has played critical but varying roles in American politics.



September 28, 2020 - 8:20 AM

Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole and former President George H.W. Bush receive a standing ovation after Bush introduced Dole at a rally, Oct. 31, 1996. Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/TNS

Forty-six years ago, at the 1974 Kansas State Fair U.S. Senate debate, Bob Dole altered the path of politics for both state and nation.

Down in the polls to Democratic Rep. Bill Roy, Dole had struggled through the debate, nominally focused on agriculture. He faced the real possibility of losing his seat.

Flailing, Dole concluded by attacking Roy, a gynecologist, with this question: “I want to know how many abortions you’ve done, and where you stand on abortion?” 

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