Bob Graham: Just Another Pro-Abortion Presidential Candidate

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 15, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Bob Graham: Just Another Pro-Abortion Presidential Candidate

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
September 15, 2003

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series of profiles on the Democratic presidential candidates.

Washington, DC ( — Florida Senator Bob Graham may not demand that judicial nominees pledge allegiance to Roe v. Wade, but that doesn’t mean the Democratic presidential candidate is pro-life.

"Florida Senator Bob Graham is the only (Democratic) candidate who has not publicly embraced a pro-abortion ‘litmus test’ on judges," said Carol Tobias, political director of National Right to Life.

"He has said that a person should be able to change his/her mind as they grow older, adding,”I want to appoint judges who have the capacity to grow.’ However, Graham, along with the other Senators running — John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, and John Edwards … have all voted against a ban on partial-birth abortions," Tobias said.

If he were elected President, Graham would be the oldest person next to Ronald Reagan to become Commander-in-Chief. Graham was born at the height of the Great Depression in 1936 in Dade County, Florida. Despite being the elder statesman of Presidential candidates, Graham is offering what he calls a "new vision and new leadership" for America.

"As President, I will bring our nation together and make sure that all our citizens have a voice in their government. I will put America back on track to reach the potential of our minds and the goodness of our hearts," Graham has said.

But pro-life activists who know Graham well say that, despite his call for goodness, Graham has historically voted against the best interests of unborn children.

"Over the last 15 years, Senator Graham has consistently voted against pro-life issues despite pleas for his help," said Sheila S. Hopkins of the Florida Catholic Conference. "Recently, we called his Washington office several times asking for his support of the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act and have received no response," Hopkins said. The ANDA bill ensures that health care providers are not required to perform abortions.

Graham’s campaign did not respond to’s request for comment.

Graham touts the fact that he has never lost an election. He has served in the Florida House of Representatives, the Florida Senate, the Florida Governor’s Office, and the U.S. Senate. However, the long-time office-holder is apparently having a tough time winning support–even from his home state.

A poll conducted earlier this year showed Graham trailing Bush in Florida by a substantial margin — an indication that the Senator does not have strong grass-roots support in his home territory.

According to Rai Rojas, former president of Florida Right to Life, Graham has upset many Floridians with his pro-abortion voting record.

"I think Floridians are realizing Bob Graham is out of step with them on issues such as partial birth abortion, and other life issues," Rojas told "Graham has a 100 percent pro-abortion voting record while Florida is a pro-life state."

According to the poll, which was conducted for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the President appears to have strong support from Florida Hispanics, who backed him over Graham 68 percent to 29 percent.

"Florida Hispanics are dismayed by Senator Graham’s attacks on Miguel Estrada," Rojas added. "Hispanics make up about 13% of Florida’s population and are a key factor in any statewide election."

Estrada, who was nominated by Bush for a key judicial seat, recently withdrew his name from contention, following verbal assaults launched against him by pro-abortion Senators. Estrada did not express support for Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling which legalized abortion.

Aside from problems such as name recognition and lack of grassroots support, Graham has been plagued by health problems. However, in an interview with National Public Radio, the 66-year-old Senator insisted that he is well enough to take on the demanding job of President.

"The doctors have given me a green light," Graham said. "They have said that my heart is significantly more efficient today than it was four months ago. And yes, I am enthusiastic, energetic and anxious to take on this campaign and to be the next President of the United States."

Graham notes that he has been forced to deal with a variety of issues as a public servant. As Governor of Florida, he worked on reform measures in education, criminal justice, and economic matters. As a U.S. Senator, Graham notes that he has made his mark on legislation covering everything from health care to homeland security. And he is a favorite of the "Sunday morning circuit," having appeared on more Sunday television news shows in
2002 than any other member of Congress, according to the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call.

But, despite his many legislative accomplishments, pro-life activists know Graham as a champion of legalized abortion.

"The Senator maintained a pro-abortion record throughout all his years," said Robin Hoffman, President of Florida Right to Life. In addition to his vote against a bill to ban partial-birth abortion, Graham voted for the Harkin amendment supporting Roe v. Wade.

As a result, pro-life leaders believe that, while Graham may not be supporting a pro-abortion litmus test for judges, he would be unlikely to take action as President which would further the pro-life cause.