Politics

Ohio Rep. Jean Schmidt Talks Abortion with Schoolkids

| by Mark Berman Opposing Views

The principal of a Catholic school in Ohio is apologizing to parents after a visiting Congresswoman took it upon herself to talk about abortion to a group of students.

Ohio Rep. Jean Schmidt was addressing 1st-8th grade students earlier this month at a school in Cincinnati when she shocked everyone by bringing up abortion.

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Principal Dan Teller wrote in a letter to parents, which was obtained by Cincinnati TV station WLWT:

Unexpectedly, towards the end of her address, Congresswoman Schmidt brought up the topic of abortion. Your children may come home with questions, especially if this is a topic that has not been broached in your home.

She defined abortion as the taking of a child's life in the mother's womb. She indicated that abortion involves the killing of a child before it is born.

Abortion was not included in the prepared remarks Schmidt delivered to students, but she apparently decided to address the issue in the question-and-answer session that followed.

While speaking about the connection between moral issues and legislation, she used abortion as an example to illustrate her point.

"She received a follow-up question, which she answered consistent with Catholic teaching," her spokesman Bruce Pfaff told Cincinnati.com.

Students were apparently very interested, asking several more follow-up questions. Finally, Pfaff said Schmidt told them to ask their parents.

In his letter, Teller said Schmidt was not invited to the school to "further any political agenda," and apologized to parents, "for any confusion or fear that this may elicit on the part of your child, and for the awkward position this may put you in of introducing a difficult issue at a time that may be premature for you."

Schmidt's challenger in next week's election used the incident for political purposes, of course. Democrat Surya Yalamanchili said in a news release:

I consider the Congresswoman's comments to these children to be very concerning. It showed the same awful judgment that she has displayed in Washington.