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Abortion, religious freedom at stake in today’s elections for governors of Kentucky and Mississippi

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November 5, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Abortion and LGBT policy hang in the balance with today’s elections for the governorships of Kentucky and Mississippi, with the election for the next governor of Louisiana following soon afterward.

In Kentucky, Republican incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin has made abortion a central issue of his campaign against Democrat Attorney General Andy Beshear. Bevin has accused Beshear of accepting “blood money” from Louisville abortion center owner Ernest Marshall and of failing to defend pro-life laws in court. 

Additionally, the American Principles Project released an ad in September painting Beshear as a pro-transgender extremist, accusing him of supporting the so-called Equality Act, which the ad says “would destroy girls’ sports,” and of failing to support legislation that would protect parents’ right to refuse “medical” treatment such as hormone therapy for children.

In Mississippi, Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves is running against Democrat Attorney General Jim Hood to succeed outgoing Republican Gov. Phil Bryant, who was term-limited from running again. Reeves calls himself “100% pro-life,” declares abortion “the greatest evil of our time,” and has supported legislation to protect religious liberty.

Hood, meanwhile, calls himself a pro-life Democrat and says he would have signed Mississippi’s fetal heartbeat bill, but has expressed reluctance about defending it in court. He has represented pro-life cases in the past, but has also downplayed abortion as a “divisive social issue.” He also declined to participate in a lawsuit against the Obama administration’s transgender bathroom mandate, and opposed defending a state law protecting religious objections to same-sex “marriage.”

On November 16, Louisiana voters will choose between incumbent Democrat Gov. John Bel Edwards and Republican businessman Eddie Rispone. While Edwards is a rare pro-life Democrat governor who went so far as to sign the state’s heartbeat law in May, he has a much more liberal record on LGBT issues, such as rescinding religious liberty protections and trying to mandate that state discrimination laws recognize sexual orientation and “gender identity.”

Rispone, who defeated Republican state Rep. Ralph Abraham (an outspoken social conservative) in last month’s open primary, also supports the heartbeat law. He has framed himself as a “conservative outsider who stands with our president,” and given conservative answers on religious liberty, LGBT “discrimination,” parental rights, and sex education.

Recent polls show all three races to be extremely close. Bevin and Beshear are tied in Kentucky with 46% apiece, Reeves is just three points ahead of Hood in Mississippi, and Edwards is just two points ahead of Rispone in Louisiana. Voter turnout is likely to be a major factor in the ultimate winners of all three races.

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