Monday, May 19, 2008

Bob Schaffer Marianas rumor unsubstantiated?

Bob Schaffer, the GOP candidate for Colorado’s U.S. Senate seat this year, is taking a drubbing for his involvement with Jack Abramoff’s lobbying on behalf of a textile industry in the Marianas accused of crimes various and sundry.

One of the most repellent charges against Schaffer, a publicly pro-life candidate, is the allegation he turned a blind eye to forced abortions perpetrated upon textile workers who labored in abusive conditions.

According to the Denver Post, “a U.S. Interior Department investigation found that pregnant workers were forced to get illegal abortions or lose their jobs. Some were recruited for factories but forced into the sex trade instead.”

Catholic News Agency has tried to confirm the allegations, with no success:
When contacted by Catholic News Agency, Angie Guerrero, Karidat Social Services’ director, confirmed Schaffer’s assertion that evidence on forced abortions is lacking.
“We have heard that (of the claims of forced abortions), but none of the alleged victims have come out and said that they were forced to have abortion. So that’s all hearsay, because we can’t prove it; they’re only allegations,” she said.

As director of Karidat Social Services, Guerrero is familiar with the abortion situation throughout the Diocese of Chalan Kanoa, which includes the islands of Saipan, Rota and Tinian. Her office is currently working on a program to assess the number of abortions occurring in the region, but as of yet does not have exact figures.

I didn’t hear about the Marianas allegations myself until the Denver Post revived the story, with Schaffer’s help. The senate candidate said the Marianas’ guest worker program could be used as a model for immigration reform in the continental U.S., and his opponents pounced on the chance to revive Schaffer's Abramoff ties.

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