Republican Congressional candidate Thomas A. Marino is accusing his incumbent opponent of conveniently ducking the abortion question in the latest dustup between the candidates for the highly contested 10th House seat.
U.S. Rep. Chris Carney, D-Dimock, meanwhile, has made it known he's pro-life.
But the two-term lawmaker did not sign on as a co-sponsor for a bill that prohibits the use of taxpayer funds for abortions, and that has the Marino campaign questioning the congressman's sincerity about his stance on the issue.
Both candidates spoke to the matter this week through staff members.
Carney Chief of Staff April Metwalli said the lawmaker fully supports the legislation.
The fact is, it was introduced the very day Carney went back to Pennsylvania to be with his wife who underwent breast surgery the next day, she explained.
His priority in the days immediately prior to the surgery was his family, she said.
Marino campaign spokesman Jason Fitzgerald had his own side to tell.
"They (Carney's staff) indicated he left town to be with his wife. For them to suggest he wasn't a co-sponsor of this legislation because it was introduced on Thursday and he was leaving town that day to with his wife is inaccurate. The co-sponsor memo was sent out July 22."
Fitzgerald conceded that a memo is distinct from actual introduction of legislation, which didn't occur until July 29, the day Carney traveled to Pennsylvania to be with his wife.
Eighteen Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors of the bill.
Still, he said the congressman did not have "an excuse to duck this issue" as reminders were sent out.
Fitzgerald said Marino and his staff can sympathize with the fact that Carney's wife underwent surgery.
He noted Marino himself is a two-time cancer survivor.
"Congressman Carney will sign on as a co-sponsor when Congress reconvenes," Metwalli said. "He has been a staunch supporter of the Hyde Amendment and the push to permanently ban federal funding for abortion and just last week was singled out as a 'Whole Life Hero' for his advocacy on this issue."
Under the Hyde Amendment, federal funds cannot go toward abortion, except in cases of rape, incest and when the life of the woman is at risk.
Fitzgerald also questioned why a press release sent out earlier this week regarding Carney's reporting for active duty included a sentence indicating the lawmaker and his staff in the meantime would not be able to comment on political matters.
He said while they hold great respect for Carney serving his country as a member of the Navy Reserve, "It's no reason to stop communicating with the press."
And it's further indication that Carney wants to avoid the issue.
In response, Carney's staff released the following comment:
"Congressman Carney is prohibited by the military from commenting on political matters while on active duty. His staff is happy to answer any legislative questions during that time."