Republican Phil Scott said Monday he generally supports abortion rights, but if he's elected governor he could imagine signing bills barring some late-term abortions or restricting minors' access to the procedure.
He added, though, that given the strong Democratic majorities in the Legislature, he doubted he would see such bills.
Abortion has become an issue in the Vermont gubernatorial race 43 years after the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision legalized it nationwide. The topic arose thanks to an ad that a political action committee affiliated with Planned Parenthood began running nearly two weeks ago, and a responding ad by the Scott campaign saying the Planned Parenthood message is based on "distortions and lies."
Scott, a three-term lieutenant governor and former state senator, has sought to focus his campaign against Democrat Sue Minter on his promises to hold the line on taxes, improve the state's economy and work on making the state a more affordable place to live. Instead Monday he found himself talking about issues he variously has described as "wedges" and distractions.
"I'm pro-choice," Scott said. "I believe it. I really do. I'm just not pro-choice enough."
The comments came after Democrats held a news conference faulting Scott's past support for measures restricting late-term abortions and requiring parents to be notified in most cases when minors seek to terminate pregnancies.
The Democrats, including state Rep. Mary Sullivan, state House candidate Mari Cordes and party spokeswoman Christina Amestoy, said they would welcome Scott's discussing and defending his positions on abortion but would not stand for his campaign attacking Planned Parenthood.