Wesley Clark Responds to Criticism of Pro-Abortion View

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 13, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Wesley Clark Responds to Criticism of Pro-Abortion View

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 13, 2004

Manchester, NH (LifeNews.com) — Wesley Clark over the weekend responded to criticism of comments he made to a New Hampshire newspaper where he said he would never appoint pro-life judges and that he supported keeping abortion legal until the day of birth.

At a New Hampshire event, Clark defended his position on judges, but a staff member attempted to play down his remarks — saying that the Manchester Union Leader newspaper attempted to bully him into taking an extreme position.

The newspaper stands by its interview with the former general.

“I’m pro-choice and I believe that if judges are of judicial temperament, that’s what they are, because Roe v. Wade is the law of the land and that’s what I stand by,” Clark said at the event when asked about his previous statements.

“You can not get between a woman and her doctor — that’s the way it is," the Union Leader reports Clark saying.

Meanwhile, Jamal Simmons, Clark’s press secretary, attempted to play down the remarks.

He claimed the Union Leader’s editorial board tried to get Clark to say that he supported legal abortions until the day of birth.

“What he said is ‘We’re not going to get into a debate about timing,’” said Simmons. Simmons accused "Republicans and conservatives" of wanting to pin down candidates on their position on abortion at different times during pregnancy.

The Union Leader published a transcript of the exchange Clark had with publisher Joseph McQuaid to defend itself against Simmons’ charges.

"Are there any limits on [abortion] in your mind," McQuaid asked Clark in the interview.

"I don’t think you should get the law involved in abortion," the newspaper reports Clark saying.

"At all," McQuaid asked. "Nope," Clark said.

McQuaid asked again. "It’s between a woman, her doctor, her friends and her family," Clark said.

McQuaid, according to the paper, then asked Clark about limits on late-term abortions and on abortions until birth and Clark again said — both times — that he supported no limits.

The comments are upsetting to many who are pro-life, and Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America said Clark was "catering to the extreme edge to win the Democratic primary."

"Clark goes beyond Roe v Wade. There is no medical or legal precedence for saying life doesn’t begin until a woman decides. It would be difficult for him to find people that extreme to fill all the judicial slots," Wright told LifeNews.com.