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STALLINGS BACKS VETO ON ABORTION

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Rep. Richard Stallings, D-Idaho, who is adamantly against abortion, said Gov. Cecil Andrus acted correctly when he vetoed a bill that would have given Idaho the nation's most restrictive state abortion law.

Stallings, whose anti-abortion views earned him three votes for president at the 1988 Democratic National Convention, insisted Thursday he was not reversing his stand against abortion.However, Stallings said, he was disturbed by certain provisions of the bill vetoed by Andrus March 30. Especially troubling was a provision that would have banned victims of incest over age 18 from having an abortion, he said.

The bill, which would have prohibited abortion as a means of birth control, was drafted with the help of the National Right to Life Committee and was intended to provoke a challenge to the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide.

The bill would have banned all abortions, except in cases of a threat to the life or health of the mother, severe fetal deformity or in restricted cases of rape and incest.

Andrus, a Democrat seeking election to an unprecedented fourth term, has consistently said he is opposed to abortion. Andrus said he vetoed the bill because its restrictions were drawn far too narrowly.

Stallings said he believes the National Right to Life Committee hurt its cause by pushing the bill that had already been rejected by other states' Legislatures and which some constitutional scholars said was badly flawed.

Stallings also objected to the National Right to Life Committee's strategy of coming to Idaho with a bill crafted specifically to satisfy Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Stallings said Andrus did not ask his advice on the bill and that he didn't offer it to the governor.

Stallings said Andrus' adept handling of the abortion issue and the state's adoption this year of a state holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr. "went a long way" in helping Idaho's image nationwide.