Gregg launched a week of appearances throughout the state with an announcement at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Indianapolis.
The Democrat's goal was to promote what his campaign is calling the "Pence Plan" for governing Indiana and one example was the Republican's support for eliminating government funding for Planned Parenthood because it provides abortions.
Gregg said that's an extreme view and that – while he opposes abortion – he doesn't support making it harder for women to get health care.
But what makes the situation odd is that Indiana already has a law on the books that defunds Planned Parenthood and Gregg has not been willing to say this week whether he'd actively seek to repeal it.
The Republican-controlled Indiana General Assembly passed the law last year, long after Gregg left the legislature. It meant to strip Planned Parenthood of Medicaid and other government funding, which would force some lower income women who use the clinics for non-abortion health services to find other options.
Planned Parenthood sued and a federal judge imposed an injunction on the law that has kept it from going into effect. But the state has appealed.
Gregg said this week that the state law is a bad one.
"I'm anti-abortion. I've made that clear, but I'm not anti-women, and (the law) gets down to denying women access to health care," Gregg said Friday. "I mean, now we're telling them where you can go to the doctor. That's something you need to look at."
But neither Gregg nor his campaign would commit to working to repeal it.
"I don't know," he said when pressed on the issue by Eric Bradner of the Evansville Courier & Press. He added that if the legislature "sent me something like that, I know I'd sign it."
Gregg went on to talk about the "truce" that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said Republicans and Democrats ought to call on social issues – although it's worth noting that Daniels signed that Planned Parenthood bill into law. And Gregg said he'll focus his campaign on jobs issues, not social ones.
Still, it's Gregg who is trying hard – so hard he held an event at a Planned Parenthood clinic – to draw attention to Pence's record on social issues.
In the process, Gregg is leaving voters unclear about his own positions. He's anti-abortion. There's been no doubt about that for years ago that. And certainly, a candidate can oppose abortion and still believe that defunding Planned Parenthood is wrong.
But what is the point of that opposition if Gregg is unwilling to take action to change the situation – especially on an issue that has been so important to Democrats?
His running-mate, Sen. Vi Simpson, D-Ellettsville, tried to step in to help Gregg on Friday. She essentially said that with Republicans controlling the House and Senate, winning a repeal of the law would be difficult.
"I think the point of this press conference today is to point out the difference in approach. My idea of how to repeal a law, a statute that I find offensive, that John might find offensive, is to reach across the aisle," Simpson said. "You don't get it by stamping your feet and threatening and, you know, making these radical threats. What you do is you reach across the aisle, you meet with people on the other side of the aisle, and you try to make reasoned thoughts."
The question is what those conversations would be about – and it's not clear they would include repealing Indiana's law to defund Planned Parenthood.
Lesley Weidenbener is managing editor of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news service powered by Franklin College journalism students and faculty.
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