Skip to comments.Leading Pro-Life Group Supports John McCain
Posted on 04/07/2008 1:28:40 PM PDT by SErtelt
by Steven Ertelt LifeNews.com Editor April 7, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) -- The National Right to Life Committee has announced it is supporting eventual Republican nominee John McCain for president.
Officials from the prominent pro-life group told LifeNews.com the difference on abortion compared with the pro-abortion Democratic candidates is significant.
(Excerpt) Read more at lifenews.com ...
Hasn’t McCain always been on the pro-life side?
I've a feeling that Smith's List disagrees with the ProLife support. Of course, they weren't available for comment though.
So, how are they going to try to justify McCain’s support for embryonic stem cell research, use of the bodies of aborted babies for experimentation, taxpayer-funding of Planned Parenthood, and his opposition to the personhood plank that is at the heart of the Reagan pro-life platform??
McCain Makes Conflicting Statements on Abortion
By NRLC Federal Legislative Office
WASHINGTON (Sept. 13) - Senator John McCain (R-Az.), a leading contender for the Republican nomination for President, said on August 19, “Certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe vs. Wade,” the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on demand.
After NRLC and others voiced sharp objections, McCain shifted his ground somewhat, saying that if elected President, he would “work toward” the overturning of Roe. But McCain’s “clarifying” statements have been murky, and have raised more questions than they answered.
The current controversy began with statements by McCain reported in two different publications. The first of these appeared in the August 21 edition of the evangelical news magazine World, which reported in a profile of McCain:
“Though he [McCain] insists he, personally, is ‘morally pro-life,’ he said he would try to ensure that no voter felt ‘excluded’ from the GOP. ‘I would not seek to overturn Roe vs. Wade tomorrow,’ he continued, because doing so would endanger the lives of women. He . . . said he wants to change hearts on the abortion issue before changing any laws.”
About the same time that magazine reached subscribers, on August 19, McCain was interviewed by the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle. McCain again expressed opposition to reversing Roe, and offered a more detail rationale for that position. McCain’s statement, as published in the paper’s August 20 edition, was as follows:
“I’d love to see a point where it [Roe v. Wade] is irrelevant, and could be repealed because abortion is no longer necessary. But certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe vs. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to (undergo) illegal and dangerous operations.”
NRLC Executive Director David N. O’Steen, Ph.D., commented, “In contending that legal abortion is ‘necessary’ and that Roe v. Wade should not be overturned because it would ‘force’ women to undergo dangerous illegal abortions, McCain parroted arguments of the pro-abortion movement. A candidate who argues that legal abortion is ‘necessary’ is not a pro-life candidate.”
NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson was also sharply critical of McCain’s statement, noting, “In effect, McCain said that he wouldn’t support overturning Roe because people still wanted to obtain abortions, but if at some far future date people didn’t ‘need’ abortions anymore and Roe was therefore ‘irrelevant,’ then at that point it would be okay with him to overturn it. It appears that McCain was trying to signal that if he were elected President, Roe would be safe.”
McCain’s comments were understood the same way by the pro-abortion editorial board of the Washington Post, which on August 24 commended McCain who, the Post noted with approval, “unleashes a powerful argument in favor of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion.”
McCain’s statements reported in World and the Chronicle were directly contradictory to earlier statements in which he professed opposition to Roe and strong support for restoration of legal protection for unborn children.
For example, on February 25, 1998, McCain sent a letter to the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops, in which he wrote, “I am a life long, ardent supporter of unborn children’s right to life. . . . I salute the [Catholic] Church’s efforts to protect unborn children, and pledge my continued help in your efforts.” [The complete text of McCain’s 1998 letter is found on the NRLC website at www.nrlc.org/Federal/ Free_Speech/mccainbishop.html.]
Moreover, on July 22, 1998, McCain filled out, signed, and returned NRLC’s 1998 Congressional Candidate Questionnaire, on which McCain was asked, “Do you support the complete reversal of the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions, thereby allowing the state legislatures and the Congress to once again protect unborn children?” McCain responded, “Yes.”
If Roe v. Wade were overturned, state legislatures and Congress would once again have legal authority to protect unborn children from abortion. On the same questionnaire, McCain responded that he believed that abortion should be legal only “to prevent the mother’s death, in cases of incest, and in reported cases of forcible rape.”
When NRLC promptly took note of and objected to McCain’s pro-Roe statements, the initial response by McCain’s campaign staff was to tell individual reporters that McCain’s statements were similar to those of Texas Governor George Bush, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination. NRLC responded that such a claim was false, since Bush has consistently favored the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and also supports a constitutional amendment to make abortion illegal (except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest).
McCain then began to “clarify” his position, in a series of muddled and confusing statements on the subject.
In a written statement issued on August 22, McCain said, “I have always believed in the importance of the repeal of Roe v. Wade, and as President, I would work toward its repeal. . . . but [I believe] that it must take place in conjunction with a sustained effort to reduce the number of abortions performed in America. If Roe v. Wade were repealed tomorrow, it would force thousands of young women to undergo dangerous and illegal operations. I will continue to work with both pro-life and pro-choice Americans so that we can eliminate the need for abortions to be performed in this country.”
“The National Right to Life Committee vigorously disagrees with McCain’s repeated assertion that there is a ‘need’ to kill unborn children,” commented NRLC’s O’Steen.
In an August 23 letter from McCain to NRLC President Wanda Franz, he wrote:
“I have always believed in the importance of the repeal of Roe vs. Wade, and as President, I would work toward its repeal,” McCain wrote. He did not repeat but neither did he explain or withdraw his previous statements that there is a “need” for abortion and that overturning Roe would “force” women to seek dangerous illegal abortions.
On August 26, McCain said, “I have a moral belief that life begins at inception.”
On August 31, at a news conference in New Hampshire, McCain said that if elected president, he would “immediately support efforts to move in (the) direction” of banning abortion.
On September 12, on NBC’s Meet the Press, host Tim Russert read McCain his August 19 statement to the San Francisco Chronicle and then asked, “Would President McCain support the repeal of Roe v. Wade in the short term?”
McCain responded, “I would support the movement in that direction, and I believe that this goal that we all seek what I’m trying to say here is that we need a dialogue in America and in our party between pro-life and pro-choice people, maintaining our pro-life position as a party so we can achieve the goal that both pro-choice and pro-life people seek. . . . There are many areas we can work together adoption, foster care, education.”
McCain also has recently made apparently contradictory statements regarding the RU 486 abortion pill.
The Sacramento (Ca.) Bee reported on August 25, “When asked about RU-486 [the abortion pill] . . . McCain initially indicated he had no problem with its use. However, an aide later provided a McCain statement that said the senator had ‘strong reservations’ about the pill, ‘unless there is clear scientific evidence that it serves a beneficial medical purpose other than inducing abortions.’”
But a September 8 Associated Press, reporting on “a wide-ranging interview” with McCain, contained this passage: “Asked his position on abortion-inducing drugs like the French pill RU-486, McCain passed. ‘I have to take a look at that,’ he said.”
(In June, the House of Representatives voted to bar the Food and Drug Administration from approving the drug for sale in the U.S., but the Senate has not yet voted on that issue.)
During his 16 years in Congress, McCain has usually voted in accord with the pro-life position. However, there have been some important exceptions.
McCain has been an active supporter of the use of federal funds for experimentation utilizing tissue taken from aborted babies. The most recent occasion on which that issue came before the Senate was in 1997, when pro-life Senator Dan Coats (R-In.) attempted to prevent federal funding of abortion-dependent fetal tissue research for Parkinson’s disease. McCain led the opposition to the Coats amendment, which was defeated.
In a 1992 letter defending his earlier votes in favor of federal funding of abortion-dependent fetal-tissue experimentation, McCain wrote, “I feel that Congress must act affirmatively to support research to save lives, using tissue obtained through a practice which is currently legal in this country.”
McCain this month reaffirmed his support for federal funding of such experimentation in an interview with the Associated Press.
McCain is the chief sponsor of a “campaign reform” bill that would, among other things, heavily regulate communications by issue-oriented groups (such as NRLC and NRLC affiliates) regarding the positions and voting records of those who hold or seek federal office. The bill is strongly opposed by NRLC, and also by many other issue-oriented groups, including the Christian Coalition and Concerned Women for America.
In his August interview with World magazine, McCain continued to defend his position that legal restrictions should be placed on communications that comment on the positions on issues of members of Congress and congressional candidates. Referring to “all issue advocacy groups,” McCain said, “If they want to advocate a particular issue, that’s fine, but when they enter into a campaign for or against a candidate, then they’re violating the intent of the law.”
[For detailed information on the ways in which McCain’s bill would restrict NRLC and other pro-life groups, see the NRLC website at www.nrlc.org.]
HOW JOHN McCAIN THREATENS THE PRO-LIFE CAUSE
By Douglas Johnson, Legislative Director, National Right to Life Committee
(February 20, 2000) The presidential candidacy of Senator John McCain (R-Az.) has posed a significant threat to future advances by the pro-life movement.
Earlier this month, the Board of Directors of the National Right to Life Committee made up of an elected delegate from each state NRLC affiliate overwhelmingly voted to endorse George W. Bush. That vote recognized Bush’s strong pro-life credentials. It also reflected the recognition among many knowledgeable observers that if elected president, McCain would be unlikely to use the office’s powers to advance the pro-life cause.
In earlier stages of his presidential campaign, McCain made little effort to conceal his disrespect for the pro-life movement. For example, during an appearance on the Don Imus radio show on November 23, McCain referred disparagingly to “otherwise intelligent people who say that that’s the only issue that will determine their vote.”
But after his victory in the New Hampshire primary on February 1, McCain began working hard to appeal to pro-life voters in South Carolina and other states.
In response to criticism from NRLC and its affiliates, McCain has relied on two main defenses. First, he declares that his “17-year voting record” in Congress proves that he is “pro-life.” Second, he charges that NRLC’s criticisms are motivated entirely by opposition to his so-called “campaign finance reform” proposals” a bill that, as McCain characterizes it, would hurt NRLC’s “business.” This second defense is basically a diversionary tactic, intended to evade close scrutiny of the inadequacies of McCain’s pro-life positions.
Roe v. Wade
McCain joined the House in 1983, and became a senator in 1987. During his 17 years in Congress, McCain has usually voted anti-abortion but for a presidential candidate, that is not the only important data. After all, Al Gore had an 84% pro-life voting record as a member of the House of Representatives (1977-84), but he embraced the entire pro-abortion agenda once he reached the Senate and began to run for president. John McCain is not Al Gore but the clearest warnings about what a McCain presidency might entail are found in things that McCain has said and done over the past year, since he started running for President in earnest.
One example is what McCain said when he met with the editorial board of the very liberal San Francisco Chronicle on August 19, 1999:
“I’d love to see a point where it (Roe v. Wade) is irrelevant, and could be repealed because abortion is no longer necessary. But certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations.”
This was no more mere inartful wording. Rather, McCain actually offered a rationale for opposing repeal of Roe that it would “force” many women to have dangerous illegal abortions. This, of course, is a very familiar argument, voiced often by politicians who support the continuation of legal abortion. In short, McCain embraced the “necessary evil” thinking of the pro-abortion movement.
When ABC’s Sam Donaldson recently asked McCain about his statement to the Chronicle, McCain said that he “misspoke.” But McCain has yet to explain why he argued as he did to the newspaper’s editors. Did he believe what he said? And if he did, has he changed his mind, and if so, why?
On the January 18 Jane Chastain’s radio show, Cyndi Mosteller, who serves as “National Policy Advisor for Family & Cultural Issues” for the McCain campaign, was asked about McCain’s statement to the Chronicle. Mosteller replied that McCain had “made a mistake” under hard questioning by the newspaper editors. “They ate his lunch,” she said, adding, “They were getting on him. And he said [to Mosteller], ‘I was not strong when I needed to be strong.’”
In reality, however, McCain repeated similar arguments in at least three other interviews. At a campaign event, he said, “I would not seek to overturn Roe v. Wade tomorrow, because doing so would endanger the lives of women,” World magazine reported on August 21. In a written release dated August 22, McCain said, “If Roe v. Wade were repealed tomorrow, it would force thousands of young women to undergo dangerous and illegal operations.” And on Cable News Network on August 22, McCain said, “We all know, and it’s obvious, that if we repeal Roe versus Wade tomorrow, thousands of young American women would be performing illegal and dangerous operations.”
McCain also wrote, “I will continue to work with both pro-life and pro- choice Americans so that we can eliminate the need for abortions to be performed in this country.” [emphasis added]
These statements tracked the rhetoric of the pro-abortion movement. The pro-life movement does not believe that there is a “need” to kill unborn children, or that restoring legal protection to unborn children will “force” anyone to violate the law.
In more recent utterances, including appearances in South Carolina, McCain has said that he favors the reversal of Roe v. Wade, and that he believes that states ought to make abortion illegal (except to save the life of the mother, or in cases of rape or incest). But pro-lifers would be foolish to ignore the evidence of McCain’s real inner thinking provided by his earlier statements. It is noteworthy that during McCain’s 17 years in Congress, he never had an opportunity to vote on Roe v. Wade until October 21, 1999, when the Senate voted on a resolution-style amendment by Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) to endorse Roe v. Wade. McCain skipped the vote to make an extra campaign appearance in New Hampshire, as documented in a local newspaper. The amendment passed narrowly.
NRLC is hardly alone in recognizing that Bush and McCain would handle the abortion issue very differently as president. Bush has been endorsed by the most prominent pro-life leaders in Congress, including Congressman Henry Hyde, Congressman Chris Smith, and Congressman Charles Canady. “I’m convinced of Gov. Bush’s commitment to the pro-life cause,” said Hyde, who has criticized McCain for advocating weakening of the Republican Party’s pro-life platform plank.
Pro-abortion leaders also see a big difference. Following McCain’s win in the New Hampshire primary, the Republican Pro-Choice Coalition said that based on exit polls, “pro-choice Republicans overwhelmingly preferred McCain above all the other candidates.”
Moreover, the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL) funded TV ads in New Hampshire attacking Bush for nearly a year before the New Hampshire primary, but never a single ad criticizing McCain.
McCain Winks on Abortion
A revealing observation was made on February 8 by Steven Brill, editor of the magazine Brill’s Content, which covers the news media.
Speaking on the Fox News Channel program “The Edge”, Brill said two reporters covering the McCain campaign told him, ‘You know, he really doesn’t feel that strongly about abortion and about he isn’t really as pro-gun as he lets on in the campaign. He has to do that because it’s a Republican primary, but he’s kind of let us know that he’s not that hard-edged on those subjects.’”
Brill went on, “The point I’m making is that he was given permission, at least by these two guys [journalists], to pander. One of them actually said, ‘At least when McCain panders he sort of lets us know he’s doing it, and he kind of winks and kind of enjoys it, so he’s a good guy.’ Well, he’s not letting the rest of the country know he’s pandering.”
In the same vein, liberal Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote on December 15, “McCain’s people whisper, Don’t worry. He’s not really so anti-abortion.”
McCain served in the House of Representatives from 1983-86 and in the Senate from 1987 to date. Throughout that period, McCain did not initiate pro-life amendments or otherwise take an activist role, but he did vote pro-life with a few exceptions. The most important exception was on the issue of federal funding of experimentation using body parts of aborted babies.
This question usually referred to in the press as the “fetal tissue” issue became a matter of major controversy during the Bush Administration. The Bush Administration blocked the use of federal funds for certain experimentation utilizing tissue taken from aborted babies.
In a January 7, 1992 letter to Arizona Right to Life, McCain promised to support President Bush’s ban on federal funding of such abortion- dependent research. “I have no intention of supporting the use of fetal tissue resulting from artificially-induced abortions for research purposes,” McCain wrote.
A few months later, however, McCain began voting to overturn Bush’s pro-life policy a drive that succeeded after President Clinton took office.
The issue surfaced again in 1997, during consideration of a bill to expand federally sponsored research into Parkinson’s disease, sponsored by McCain and Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Mn.). Pro-life Senator Dan Coats (R- In.) offered an amendment to prevent the use of the newly authorized funds for abortion-dependent fetal tissue research, but McCain prevailed in defeating the amendment, 60-35. (Sept. 4, 1997, Senate rollcall Vote No. 215.) Recently, McCain has falsely implied that only four senators disagreed with his position on the issue.
[A detailed memorandum documenting McCain’s statements and votes on the fetal-tissue issue is available at www.nrlc.org/Whatsnew/McCainrecordbodyparts.html]
On January 15, McCain said that if elected president, he might appoint former Senator Warren Rudman (R-NH) his close advisor and the co- chairman of the national McCain campaign as U.S. attorney general. As a senator, Rudman voted to preserve Roe v. Wade, and was an active opponent of other pro-life efforts legislative efforts.
The attorney general is the cabinet officer who most often serves as a president’s key advisor on Supreme Court appointments, and who oversees the positions taken by an administration on issues before the Supreme Court.
Rudman voted to confirm anti-Roe v. Wade Justice Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, but later wrote in his 1996 memoirs, “If my vote had been the deciding one, I would have voted against Thomas, no matter what the consequences.”
Rudman has been harshly critical of the pro-life movement and of Christian conservatives. He wrote, “If someone had told me in the 1960s that one day I would serve in a Republican Party that opposed abortion rights which the Supreme Court had endorsed advocated prayer in the schools, and talked about government-inspired ‘family values,’ I would have thought he was crazy.”
Also, “Politically speaking, the Republican Party is making a terrible mistake if it appears to ally itself with the Christian right” a group that he identified as rife with “antiabortion zealots” and “bigots,” among other undesirables.
In a February 15 debate in South Carolina, Bush confronted McCain regarding Rudman, noting that Rudman had described the Christian Coalition as “bigots.” Bush asked McCain, “I know you don’t believe that, do you?” But McCain refused the invitation to repudiate Rudman’s words, responding instead, “George, he’s entitled to his opinion on that issue.”
Moderator Larry King also invited McCain to “disclaim what Rudman said,” but McCain did not respond.
Subsequently, Rudman told Manchester Union-Leader reporter John DiStaso that “he most certainly did call the Christian Coalition bigots,” and “he included leaders of other conservative groups in the description, to boot.” (Union-Leader, Sept. 17)
When, in the February 15 debate, Bush said that “every child, born and unborn, should be protected in law,” McCain immediately attacked Bush for his opposition to adding exceptions for rape and incest to the pro-life plank in the Republican platform.
Free Speech About Political Figures
NRLC has certainly made no secret of its strong opposition to certain key components of McCain’s “campaign finance reform” proposals, which would cripple the ability of NRLC and other pro-life groups to communicate with the public about the positions and actions of those who hold or seek federal office.
In some recent communications, McCain has emphasized that the latest version of his bill, introduced last October, did not contain the provisions restricting commentary on politicians by issue-oriented groups such as NRLC. However, at the time McCain made it clear that he was proposing a “stripped-down “ bill only for tactical reasons, to try to overcome a filibuster for bill opponents not because he’d changed his mind. Indeed, when Senate Democrats forced a vote on the House-passed Shays-Meehan bill which contains sweeping restrictions on political free speech by independent groups McCain voted for it. (Oct. 19, 1999)
As recently as December 22, McCain told the Associated Press, “If I could think of a way constitutionally, I would ban negative ads.”
[Further information on the how McCain’s proposals would cripple pro-life groups, and further empower the institutional news media, is found at the NRLC website, www.nrlc.org, under “Campaign Finance Reform and Free Speech.”]
Excellent, McCain has always been anti-abortion....and I hope as President he’ll re-think his stem-cell positionb and help us over-turn Roe v Qade.
Certainly more hope for his help than that of Clinton and Obama.
McCain is a member of the Centrist Coalition. They take a strong stance on prochoice.
Senate Centrist Coalition
According to Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD), "The Centrist Coalition is a group of moderate Democrats and Republicans seeking common ground and compromise on issues. ... The Centrist Coalition helps to bridge the two parties ... It brings together progressive national policy initiatives while promoting growth for businesses and increasing personal responsibility for Americans. Most South Dakotans are not left or right-wingers, but instead are right down the middle -- they simply want their government to work well and efficiently. The Centrist Coalition is a good step toward bringing the parties together."
"The group also exerted influence in helping to push for enactment of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill, said Sandy Maisel, director of the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.
"Maisel said the members who frequently attend the coalition's meetings 'have the potential to have a great deal of influence' in the current Senate which is closely divided with 55 Republicans, 44 Democrats and Jim Jeffords, a Vermont Independent who usually votes with the Democrats.
"'All they need is a swing group of about six or seven, and then they can be very influential,' he said."
Excerpting the Republican Members:
* George Allen
* Bob Bennett
* Kit Bond
* John Chafee
* Susan Collins
* Mike DeWine
* Pete Domenici
* Peter Fitzgerald
* Bill Frist
* Judd Gregg
* Chuck Hagel
* Jim Jeffords
* John McCain
* Pat Roberts
* Richard Shelby
* Gordon Smith
* Olympia J. Snowe
* Arlen Specter
* Fred Thompson
* George V. Voinovich
* John Warner
I consider the George Soros-funded John McCain to be the leader of that sorry lot of leftists.
That article is from 1999. McCain retracted that stance.
That’s right. McCain has always been anti-abortion.
McCain takes the Gerald R. Ford, Ron Paul abortion position, claiming that states’ rights trump the unalienable right to life, and that this is somehow “federalism,” in direct opposition to the Ronald Reagan pro-life GOP plank.
Do you agree with him?
Just as I believe that the issue of gay marriage
should be decided by the states, so do I believe that
we would be better off by having Roe v. Wade return
to the states.
This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Nov. 19, 2006
Don't you know that McCain is entirely Liberal on every issue, and that anyone who says otherwise is either a complete idiot or unconscionable liar? Can't you see that he makes Michael Moore look Conservative?
So sayeth the McCain haters, at least.....
Now some are even trying to say he's not Pro-Life. I think that there are many McCain haters who are letting hate blind them in the way it binds the Liberals with Bush. Pretty soon some Freepers will be accusing McCain of being behind 9/11. Just wait.
But hey - Two or three more Ginsbergs on the Supreme Court will be good for us, right? I mean, at least we can let McCain know that we really, really hate him (rolling eyes).
I know, I know... :-)
If you’re satisfied with McCain’s liberalism and his wink and a nod to his leftist friends on abortion, that’s your business.
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