While former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel has taken intense heat for past opposition to gay rights, his conservative view on abortion has been drawn less attention from Democratic critics.
But as a Senator, Hagel repeatedly voted against amendments to allow servicewomen to pay for abortion services at military hospitals out of their own pockets.
According past campaign literature, he also opposed abortion in cases of rape and incest because those cases are "rare."
When he announced his candidacy for Senate, Hagel said that he opposed abortion except to protect the life of the mother and in cases of rape and incest. Hagel decided he didn't believe that exclusion for rape were necessary after studying the issue near the end of his campaign.
"I am pro-life with one exception — the life of the mother. I oppose taxpayer funded
abortions. We must promote adoption and support the strengthening of American families. I will vote with and support the pro-life movement," Hagel said in a piece of 1996 campaign literature, according to the Omaha World Herald.
Then Senate-candidate Hagel said that he "tightened" his position on abortion after he said he discovered that abortion in the case of rape and incest are "rare" according to multiple local press reports.
"As I looked at those numbers, if I want to prevent abortions, I don't think those two exceptions are relevant," Hagel said, according to the Omaha paper.