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McCain and the pro-life plank

Posted By Jill Stanek On 05/14/2008 @ 1:00 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled

On May 9, ABC News unearthed disturbing footage from a 2000 Republican primary debate between John McCain, Alan Keyes, and George Bush showing McCain’s surly pro-abortion side. View the video below:


McCain provoked then-Gov. Bush on the exceptions they share: rape, incest. He tried to corner Bush as a liar or hypocrite since he supported the pro-life plank of the Republican platform, which backed a human life amendment to the Constitution.

Keyes, always clear, although these days so hostile he has alienated all but a core few, nailed them both on their duplicity:

… I think this a perfect illustration – this discussion – of the problem we’ve got in the party, one individual who doesn’t really accept the pro-life position of the party and another who says he accepts it but then takes positions that are inconsistent with it, so when push comes to shove he won’t be able to defend it. …

When Al Gore stands there … and says, “Uh, Senator McCain you said your daughter, that would be her decision, it would be up to her to decide. How on earth can you represent a party that would take away from every other American woman what you would give to your own daughter?”

Earlier this month, pro-life California Rep. Kevin McCarthy was selected to head the 2008 Republican Platform Committee, a choice receiving accolades from pro-life groups.

There is much momentum to retain the pro-life plank. Both the party and McCain know their relationship with the base is tenuous: I haven’t even mentioned McCain’s pro-human embryo research and anti-Terri Schiavo positions. I will be surprised if the party or McCain attempt to mess with pro-lifers on the plank.

The mainstream media is portraying the potential that McCain will go mute on the pro-life plank as a flip-flop. As recently as 13 months ago he reiterated wanting to weaken it.

McCain has indeed been waffley on abortion.


In 1999, McCain appeared to tell the San Francisco Chronicle he opposed overturning Roe v. Wade, but clarified within days he supported it. Since then, he has remained steadfast on that point.

McCain also appears to oppose a human life amendment, according to an interview he did with George Stephanopoulos in 2006:

Stephanopoulos: What are you going to do to advance a constitutional amendment that President Bush hasn’t done?

McCain: I don’t think a constitutional amendment is probably going to take place, but I do believe that it’s very likely or possible that the Supreme Court should – could overturn Roe v. Wade, which would then return these decisions to the states, which I support.

Stephanopoulos: And you’d be for that?

McCain: Yes, because I’m a federalist. 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. And I don’t believe the Supreme Court should be legislating in the way that they did on Roe v. Wade.

McCain’s inconsistent positions on the sanctity of human life all arise from his support of killing babies conceived via incest or rape. Accepting one rationale only opens the gateway to accepting more.

Over the years, the mainstream media and liberals have homed in on this discrepancy, asking such specific questions as to make it next to impossible to maintain a position with exceptions and look like one makes any sense, as McCain and President Bush demonstrated in the video clip above.

Nevertheless, MSM still always concludes a strong pro-life position is a loser with voters. Stephanopoulos said in the above video about the 2000 campaign:

This issue is gonna be wrapped around the necks of the Republicans in the general election. … [E]ven more important, March 7, California. Lots of independents now registering, moving over to the Republican Party, looking at John McCain, and they’re not gonna like George Bush’s position on abortion at all in that state; big pro-choice state.

We all know who won the 2000 Republican primary and the general election. And the California primary? George W. Bush.

The one thing McCain is apparently very solid on is choosing constructionist judges, which I’ve had confirmed from high-ranking sources.

Pro-lifers voting for president in November will have to choose McCain. He knows that. We know that. But if he makes one wrong maverick move on the pro-life issue from here until then, such as trying to weaken the Republican pro-life platform, many of us will bail.


Related special offers:

“ENDING ABORTION: How the pro-life side will win the war”

“Lime 5: Exploited by Choice”


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