Dems criticize Tiahrt abortion comments that include Obama, Thomas

Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Goddard, during a House floor speech Thursday argued to restrict public funding for abortions and suggested abortion could deprive the world of future great minds and named President Barack Obama and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as examples.

Tiahrt said financial incentives could encourage women who were “single parents, living below the poverty level, to have the opportunity for a free abortion.”

“If you take that scenario and apply it to many of the great minds we have today, who would we have been deprived of? Our president grew up in a similar circumstance,” Tiahrt said. “If that financial incentive was in place, is it possible that his mother may have taken advantage of it?”

The liberal blog The Huffington Post criticized the comments and posted a video of the speech on its Web site. Chris Harris, a former Kansas Democratic Party communications director who now works for the Media Matters Action Network, said Tiahrt “embarrassed the state.”

Tiahrt, a Republican whose district includes Wichita, is seeking the GOP nomination for a Senate seat in 2010 against Rep. Jerry Moran.

“He can’t even do his current job without morphing into an object of ridicule. Why in the world would Kansas voters give him a promotion?” Harris said.