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ANDRUS DEFENDS VETO OF ABORTION MEASURE

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Gov. Cecil Andrus continues to be dogged by questions about his claimed opposition to abortion because of his decision to veto what would have been the nation's most restrictive abortion law.

At the opening session of the YMCA Youth Legislature on Friday, the Democratic chief executive was again asked about the veto in view of his anti-abortion philosophy."I consider myself pro-life," Andrus responded. "But there are some of us who recognize there have to be exceptions to the absolute rule."

To bolster his position, Andrus cited the position of the Catholic Church against all abortions except to save the life of the women and the position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints against abortion except in cases of rape, incest, severe fetal deformity and to save the life of the woman.

Soliciting agreement from the high school lawmakers that both churches are viewed as strongly opposed to abortion, Andrus said, "I'm somewhere in between the two. Some of my political adversaries would say that doesn't make me pro-life. I know what I am. I would ask them to judge me as they would others."

Andrus repeated past explanations of his veto. He rejected the bill because it was too restrictive in the case of rape since it allowed abortion only if the rape was reported within seven days and incest because only victims under 18 could obtain legal abortions in such cases. On the other hand, it allowed abortion in the case of severe fetal deformity, something he would not permit.

In response to another question, Andrus assured the teenagers that threats from abortion-rights advocates around the nation that they would boycott Idaho potatoes and other goods if the bill were signed had no impact on his decision.

"I think I can speak for most of the people in the state of Idaho when I say that threats don't impress us," he said. "Idahoans are an independent people."