Edwards Talks Moderate on Abortion, Votes Extreme
by Paul Nowak
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
September 2, 2003
Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of LifeNews.com profiles of the Democratic presidential candidates.
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) may not be as vocal about his view in favor of abortion as his fellow candidates seeking the Democratic Party nomination for President in 2004, but actions speak louder than words.
While other candidates may be proudly declaring their pro-abortion stance at every opportunity, you will not find Edwards’ stance on abortion mentioned on his official website. Yet, he has made his position clear on several occasions.
"The right to choose is an essential ingredient to realize the full equality of America,” Edwards said during a speech at a NARAL dinner on January 21, 2003.
In May 2003, Edwards addressed EMILY’s List donors, attempting to strengthen their resolve to put a pro-abortion candidate in the White House in 2004.
"These judges, some of these judges, that come out of the White House, they will take your rights away. It is no more complicated than that," Edwards told the pro-abortion group.
Edwards is also the only one of the nine presidential candidates that sits in the Judiciary Committee, where much of the debate over Bush’s judicial nominations occurs.
When it comes to casting his vote, Edwards is consistent and clear. According to National Right to Life, Edwards has a 0% pro-life voting record — including votes to prevent a ban on partial-birth abortions, a procedure that even Edwards admitted he did not support.
"I oppose partial-birth abortions," Edwards said during the debate in the Senate over the partial-birth abortion ban on October 21, 1999. "Put simply, I oppose all late-term abortions unless they are necessary to save the life of the mother or to avert grievous damage to the physical health of the mother."
However, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, a Planned Parenthood research affiliate, less than 2 to 5 percent of abortions are performed for reasons other than birth control.
So why did Edwards vote against a ban on partial-birth abortions? He claims the measure is ineffective, and likely to be ruled unconstitutional in light of the precedent set by Roe V. Wade.
"It [the ban] would not stop a single abortion." Edwards explained. "It would simply spur doctors and women to seek other methods to achieve the same goal."
"I have voted for the Durbin amendment [to the partial-birth abortion ban]," Edwards added. "It would bar, except in narrow circumstances and under the advice and consent of two physicians, all late-term abortions."
However, the Durbin amendment attempted to include a ban of all late-term abortions, with a health exception. Pro-life groups oppose such an exception because it essentially allows the abortions to remain legal.
Edwards closed his comment in the debate with a summation of his stance on the abortion issue as a whole.
"I believe that the difficult question of abortion should be left for a woman to decide in consultation with her family, her physician, and her faith. However, once the fetus has reached viability, I believe we have a responsibility, and a constitutional ability, to protect the unborn child."
However, the actions of the U.S. Senator from North Carolina speak louder than his words.