Joe Lieberman Denies Saying Roe Decision Should be Reconsidered

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 31, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Joe Lieberman Denies Saying Roe Decision Should be Reconsidered

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 31, 2003

Washington, DC ( — Pro-abortion presidential candidate Joe Lieberman, over the weekend, refuted remarks attributed to him by a New Hampshire paper suggesting that the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on demand should be revisited.

After an interview with editors of the Union-Leader newspaper of Manchester, New Hampshire, the paper’s senior political reporter John DiStaso, wrote, "Joe Lieberman said this week that ‘extraordinary advances in medical science’ have forced a re-examination of the 30-year-old Roe V. Wade ruling’s trimester-based approach to the abortion issue."

The headline on the column said, "Lieberman: Look again at Roe v. Wade."

Lieberman said the paper "misreported" his comments.

"I did not say nor do I believe that Roe should be looked at again, revisited or reconsidered," Lieberman said in a statement.

Lieberman said he told the newspaper something he had been saying for years, namely that medical science has moved back the time of viability for an unborn child and that courts have replaced Roe’s trimester framework with a viability standard for when state’s should be allowed to protect unborn children.

Instead of reducing a "right" to abortion," Lieberman said the viability standard lengthens the time in which abortion "rights" are protected from the first trimester to viability. Lieberman said viability occurs at 24 weeks, though unborn children born earlier in pregnancy have survived.

Jano Cabrera, a Lieberman spokesman, said the Union-Leader report on Lieberman’s comments contains no direct quote from Lieberman indicating he wants the Supreme Court to revisit the abortion decision "because he never said that."

However, Edward Domaingue, managing editor of the newspaper, told the Associated Press, "We stand by what we reported."

Abortion advocates aren’t worried that Lieberman is shying away from a pro-abortion position.

NARAL president Kate Michelman praised Lieberman’s pro-abortion voting record in Congress.

However, pro-abortion candidate Howard Dean, a former Planned Parenthood board member, used the controversy to claim Lieberman doesn’t have the same pro-abortion credentials as he does.

Dean, in an interview with the Associated Press, said Lieberman is "very much off base and doesn’t understand the science."

Last week, Lieberman’s campaign released a new ad last that, in part, touts his pro-abortion position.

A narrator ticks off a number of issues on which Lieberman has been a strong advocate. The second issue includes mention of Lieberman as "a consistent champion of a woman’s right to choose."

Lieberman received a 100 percent rating from NARAL during 2001 and 2002 while he received a 0% grade from the National Right to Life Committee since 1999. Since 1997, Lieberman has voted pro-life only once out of dozens of votes, on a bill to prevent the use of federal funds or facilities in assisted suicides.

"Lieberman supports abortion for any reason, including partial-birth abortion," said Carol Tobias of NRLC. "He supports stem-cell research on human embryos and has said he would try to appoint judges who would uphold Roe vs. Wade. Unfortunately, he’s as radical on the abortion issue as the other eight (Democratic) candidates."