Skip to comments.Don't make abortion an election issue - (Tony)Blair
Posted on 03/16/2005 6:25:35 PM PST by nickcarraway
TONY Blair took on the Catholic Church yesterday as he warned that abortion should not be an issue in a general election.
His remarks came in direct opposition to those of the leader of the Catholic Church in England, Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy OConnor, who praised the Tory leader, Michael Howard, for his stance on the issue.
The Prime Minister said through his spokesman it would be a "pity" if the debate over tightening abortion laws was used in an election campaign. Mr Howard has indicated he favours reducing the limit on abortions from the 24th week of pregnancy to the 20th week.
Cardinal OConnor, as he issued a letter urging Catholics to question parliamentary candidates on six key policy issues ahead of the expected election in the spring, said: "Abortion, for Catholics, is a very key issue. We are totally opposed to it.
"The policy supported by Mr Howard is one that we would also commend on the way to a full abandonment of abortion."
Mr Blair, an Anglican who attends mass with his wife, who is Catholic, yesterday moved to stop the Conservatives winning the religious vote on the strength of comments made by Mr Howard in an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine.
The Tory leader said he personally favoured abortion being made illegal after 20 weeks of pregnancy, rather than the current limit on 24 weeks.
The Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales said his answer was better than that of Charles Kennedy, the Liberal Democrats leader, who said he didnt have a position, and that of Mr Blair, who said he disliked the idea of abortion but had no plans to change legislation.
There was dismay in Labours London headquarters, where they argued that abortion had long been a matter of free voting in Westminster - meaning no party takes a position and MPs vote by conscience.
Mr Blairs spokesman said: "In his opinion it would be a pity if this did become a party-political issue, or indeed a general election issue." He added that Catholics also call for social justice. "The Catholic Church has a well-known position on [abortion] and it was one of many issues the Cardinal mentioned and therefore it should be seen in that context."
As Mr Blair was trying to push abortion out of the election campaign, the Catholic Bishops Conference in Glasgow yesterday published a pre-election credo saying it was opposed to stem-cell research, human cloning and "the appalling practice of abortion". The conference emphasised the "right to life" and asked Catholics to "play a part in shaping the values which will direct the political activity".
Could some of Bush be rubbing off on the previously wimpy Tory leader?
What you never hear from the pro-aborts is that "enlightened, sophisticated Europe" is far more restrictive than we are when it comes to abortion.
Why should abortion be ruled out as a political issue?
The best news to come out of the British Conservative Party for a long time. Howard just might be alright after all.
As for Blair...despite his strong effort on Iraq, he is still a socialist.
But isn't Howard against the Iraq war?
No. The Pommie Conservatives have always supported the war effort.
Yes. Thanks to our activist judges. I don't think this lets us off the hook completely, since we've had over 30 years to elect officials who would appoint good judges, but I think we're moving in the right direction.
I blame the media too. If the subject was reported accurately we'd have much more restrictive laws.
Because he realizes he's on the less moral side? Makes sense to me for a pro-abortionist (or at least one not willing to take a stand on it) not to want it to become an issue.
That is good to know in case he wins--the British way of announcing elections seemingly "out of the blue" confuses me, so I don't really pay attention--
I have watched the question and answer period, it is a hoot! I just love Tony Blair's quick come-backs--
They do things ssssssooo different than here, so I never know what party stands for what or who, or anything!
Our system in Australia is much more like the Pommie one.
Usually, it's a clear situation of the Conservatives being on the Right, Labor on the Left. Blair's strong stand on Iraq has clouded things just a smidge.
Antoine must not have a quick comeback for this issue.
Yeppers, he isn't like Boxer and her group that like to brag about their stance that even partial-birth abortion is A-OK with them!!
At least "Antoine" knows that it is a losing campaign platform---
Quite an intense and exciting three weeks though.
Considering that Clinton, McCain, Kerry are all already campaigning and using taxpayer money to do it---they are missing Senate sessions and traveling the country on our dime---
The election isn't for 4 more years and they are already starting, so I think we should try it like Britain and only give them a few months notice!!!
Uh, oh, Mr. Blair (3rd Wayer)...
They may actual have to take care of business instead of peddling their a***s all over town.