Idaho Republican lieutenant governor candidate Bob Nonini has triggered a firestorm after saying that women who get an abortion should be criminally prosecuted and indicated that that could include the death penalty. If it seems a tad conflicted to execute someone in the name of being pro-life, Nonini seems to be still trying to thread that needle with a later effort to walk back from his comments.
Nonini, a three term state senator from Coeur d’Alene, made the comments during a Monday candidate forum in Moscow hosted by the conservative Christian podcast CrossPolitic. Nonini decided to put himself on the farthest possible extreme in declaring that “There should be no abortion and anyone who has an abortion should pay.” When asked if that would include the death penalty, Nonini nodded in agreement and later confirmed the position in the call with The Associated Press.
Nonini was predictably buried in criticism and later tried to repair the damage with a new statement: “Prosecutions have always been focused on the abortionist. There is no way a woman would go to jail let alone face the death penalty. The statute alone, the threat of prosecution, would dramatically reduce abortion. That is my goal.”
That did not actually reverse his view that the death penalty would be warranted but said that it was not likely. He also added that his wife, Cathyanne, does not position on executing women who have had abortions.
Notably, Nonini has emphasized his Roman Catholic values but the Pope has opposed the death penalty as well as abortion as part of a holistic pro-life view.