McCain's Support for GOP Pro-life Plank Questioned

July 7, 2008 - 8:32 PM

(CNSNews.com) - As a resurgent John McCain campaigned in New Hampshire Friday, some pro-life Republicans questioned the Arizona senator's commitment to the pro-life plank of the Republican Party.

McCain, who finished third in the Iowa caucuses last Thursday behind two former governors - Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney - is surging in the polls in New Hampshire, tied for first place with Romney heading into Tuesday's Republican presidential contest.

But Colleen Parro, executive director of the Republican National Coalition for Life, said she is "not comfortable at all" with McCain's record on abortion.

"It indicates that he is willing to vote for measures that regulate or restrict the practice of abortion," Parro told Cybercast News Service. "But in terms of ending legal abortion, there's no evidence he shares that goal with those of us that are pro-life."

Parro questioned McCain's commitment to the GOP's pro-life plank. It states that "the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed," calls for a human life amendment to the Constitution, and backs legislation "to make it clear that the Fourteenth Amendment's protections apply to unborn children."

"John McCain has never indicated his support for a human life amendment," Parro said. "And his position in support of embryonic stem-cell research indicates that Mr. McCain is not truly pro-life. If you support killing people at the very outset of their lives, then there is no possible way you would support ending legal abortion."

McCain has voted repeatedly for funding for embryonic stem-cell research. He has also been criticized for opposing and then supporting the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion nationwide.

Parro is not alone in her criticism. In New Hampshire, a pro-life Republican who spoke to Cybercast News Service on background as "Bill," called McCain's record on Roe "weak."

"Back in 1999, when he ran the first time for president, he said he opposed overturning Roe v. Wade," said Bill. "Later he came out and had to clarify his position. It never was very satisfactory to me."

In August 1999, during a campaign swing through California, McCain told the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle that though he would "love to see a point" where the Supreme Court decision could be repealed, he did not support its repeal.

"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," the Chronicle reported McCain as saying.

McCain subsequently told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in an interview that though he favored the ultimate repeal of Roe, "we all know, and it's obvious, that if we repeal Roe vs. Wade tomorrow, thousands of young American women would be (undergoing) illegal and dangerous operations."

Calls to the McCain campaign were not returned by press time, but his 2008 campaign materials point out that McCain believes "Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned," and if elected president, he "will nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench."

Further, the candidate favors returning the issue to the states, as his campaign papers state: "Constitutional balance would be restored by the reversal of Roe v. Wade, returning the abortion question to the individual states. The difficult issue of abortion should not be decided by judicial fiat."

New Hampshire voters go to the polls on Jan. 8.

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