Anti-abortion-rights activist hopes to be the David to Boehner’s Goliath in House primary
Tuesday afternoon, in Speaker of the House John Boehner’s home state, anti-abortion-rights protesters are organizing a rally to encourage the Ohio Senate to pass controversial legislation that would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
The bill passed the GOP-dominated House in June but has yet to receive a Senate committee assignment. Though the Senate is also dominated by Republicans, Reuters reports that passage is not imminent. Beyond the Buckeye State, anti-abortion-rights advocates nationwide are rallying for support of the “heartbeat bill,” and GOP presidential candidates Texas Gov. Rick Perry, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich have voiced their backing.
But in Ohio, one anti-abortion-rights activist is taking another tactic, by trying to unseat Speaker Boehner in the 8th Congressional District. David Lewis, a tea party member and full-time missionary from West Chester, Ohio, told The American Independent he is fulfilling a promise he made in February, when — standing outside Boehner’s office in political protest — he announced he would challenge the speaker in a primary if he voted for a federal budget bill that did not strip Planned Parenthood of all federal funds. That day, Lewis said he was arrested for picketing. But he’s kept his promise — last week he announced his congressional candidacy, which is based almost entirely on an anti-abortion-rights platform.
“I want to see abortion become a criminal act, from conception until birth,” Lewis told TAI, on his way to the “heartbeat bill” rally in Columbus, Ohio. He said he wants to see similar legislation introduced at the federal level. ”Abortion is the slavery of today. It is the segregation of today.”
Lewis’ campaign website features three 30-second videos that mix graphic images of aborted fetuses with pictures of Boehner. Through voiceover narration, Lewis accuses Boehner of “giving our money to Planned Parenthood, a criminal syndicate that murders babies and covers the crimes of rapists, sex-traffickers and pedophiles.”
Some in the media have suggested that Lewis is using his campaign as a way to air graphic anti-abortion commercials. The blog Addicting Info suggested that Lewis might be a plant by the anti-abortion-rights activist Randall Terry, who is running for president as a Democrat on a platform entirely based on his anti-abortion-stance. The front page of Terry’s campaign website shows graphic images of aborted fetuses. (Terry founded the anti-abortion-rights group Operation Rescue, but for the past few years, Operation Rescue has been trying to distance itself from him.)
Lewis denied the idea that he is a plant for Terry, though said that the two frequently work and lobby together. He also said though he wants the public to see his graphic anti-abortion-rights ads — he will begin airing them 40 days before the state primary, he told TAI — his main goal is to beat Boehner, which he admitted will be a “David and Goliath task.”
“But David beat Goliath,” he said.
Other than abortion and Boehner’s vote on the federal budget, Lewis’ campaign vows to eliminate entitlement programs like Social Security, which he refers to as “socialism,” “legalized theft” and “a Ponzi scheme,” borrowing Rick Perry’s line.
Before working as a missionary and anti-abortion-rights lobbyist full time, Lewis said he worked in the IT department at a bank in West Chester.