Less than 24 hours after and other media outlets that he condoned the use of deadly force to prevent abortions, Hillsborough County Sheriff candidate Frank Szabo is backing off those comments.
In a written statement, Szabo today said he has reflected on the "unacceptable public comments" he made yesterday, and retracted the idea that he would use deadly force to stop an abortion doctor and apologized to the people of New Hampshire for so carelessly losing track of what he was saying.
“I want to be clear to the people of New Hampshire that I made several comments about the use of deadly force against abortion doctors that I regret, that I apologize for and that I fully retract,” said Szabo. “Clearly, I feel very strongly about life beginning at conception, and that will not change. But, in making comments yesterday, I let my passionate stance against abortion get the better of me.
“What I said was inexcusable, and as sheriff, I would not use lethal force against an abortion doctor,” he continued. “To explain my misstatement, however, I want to point out that for someone as adamantly pro-life as me, walking in on an abortion is the equivalent of walking in on someone who is in the process of stabbing someone else."
Szabo said he was caught off guard with a question about the use of lethal force to prevent an abortion.
"While I maintain that abortion is unlawful because it strips the right to life from a helpless unborn child, I recognize it is legal, and for that reason deadly force against an abortion doctor is not justifiable," he said. “As someone who has such a passionate respect for life, I also respect the life of abortion doctors, even if I don’t respect what they do.
“As sheriff, when the moral waters are murky, I would always err on the side of prudence. This isn’t the 19th century, and I am a man of peace. I honestly can’t imagine a situation where I would want to use deadly force. In fact, I would use every possible peaceful and lawful tool at my disposal to execute the job of Hillsborough County Sheriff, and the people of the county should have confidence in that.”
In a press release several weeks ago about abortion, Szabo said he would use the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office to arrest abortion doctors for murdering innocent life.
While he stands by his statement that a sheriff could do that, he admits that it was a bad example of a larger point he was trying to convey, which is that the county sheriff’s job is to enforce the law of the land, which is spelled out in the state and federal constitutions. While abortion is legal, he said it is not lawful because it violates a pre-born child’s natural right to life. However, in the system of checks and balances that America’s founders set up, a sheriff, he noted, would not have the final word on this matter.
Conceivably, a county prosecutor could choose to side with the sheriff and press charges following an arrest, he explained. The sheriff could also call a citizens’ grand jury to press charges. Even then, the case would be heard in a court of law, and a judge or even a jury would not likely convict the abortion doctor. The abortion doctor might then file a counter suit against the sheriff on any number of complaints.
“With government’s increasing encroachment on citizens’ natural rights, particularly their right to own and control their own property, the abortion doctor example was really a poor choice to prove a point about the sheriff’s potential role as a constitutional officer,” Szabo said. “In retrospect, I should have focused on issues like those highlighted in my press release earlier this week.
“In one example, an Oregon man was arrested for harvesting rain water on his own land. In another, the owners of family farms in Michigan were ordered by government agents to kill their heritage pigs as an ‘invasive species.’ It’s legal abuses such as these that a county sheriff can and should stop using his inherent constitutional authority. It’s legal abuses such as these that I would stop as Hillsborough County Sheriff," he added. “I truly hope the voters of Hillsborough County will give me another chance to prove my qualifications for office so I can help restore natural law, which is protected by the state and federal constitutions."