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Politician Talks Up Her Abortion on Campaign Trail

7:15 AM, Jul 8, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Lucy Flores is the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor in Nevada. And as Benjy Sarlin reports for MSNBC, she's known in part for taking an unconventional approach to abortion--she talks openly about her own decision to have an abortion at the age of 16.

Here's how she first brought up her abortion, according to Sarlin:

In 2012, she testified in support of a bill expanding school health programs. As she explained from the witness table, her school’s failure to teach sex education had a direct impact on her family. “I had six other sisters … all of them became pregnant in their teens – all of them,” Flores said. “One of them was 14 years old when she got pregnant with twins.” 

Then, with a nervous laugh, Flores told her colleagues something she had never admitted to anyone. “Since I’m sharing so much this session, I might as well keep going,” she said. “I always said that I was the only one who didn’t have kids in their teenage years. That’s because at 16, I got an abortion.”

Her eyes welled up and her voice caught as she described how she had convinced her father to pay the $200 cost for the procedure. She didn’t want to end up like her sisters, Flores told him.  “I don’t regret it,” she said. “I don’t regret it because I am here making a difference, at least in my mind, for many other young ladies and letting them know that there are options and they can do things to not be in the situation I was in, but to prevent.”

She's being praised in places like Slate ("Finally, a Politician Admits to Having an Abortion Simply Because She Wasn’t Ready for a Baby"). And as she takes the campaign to MSNBC, which she did over the weekend, she's talking about her decision to have an abortion--and the courage she believes she's so far displayed.

"I'm unapologetic about being pro-choice," she said in an on-air interview with MSNBC, "and standing up for women and their ability to make their own health decisions and, you know, I've always been pro-choice, I am that now, and so that hasn't necessarily been, you know, a wedge issue that has been brought up in the campaign.

"Now certainly people do remember my testimony -- and people, you know, are just thankful that there is a politician -- I mean I hate to refer to myself as a politician -- but, you know, an elected official. I mean, I came here to do a job to try to improve people's lives and sometimes that requires making courageous decisions and I think that's what all elected officials are supposed to do. And people you know really appreciate that--that I did that, and I've always just been very honest about the things that have occurred in my life. You know, decisions that I've had to make. Because people experience that every day of their lives."

The MSNBC host agreed with Flores's claim that it took courage to speak out. "I think voters really appreciate that level of candor and courage, really."

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