by Douglas Johnson
October 18, 2006
LifeNews.com Note: Douglas Johnson is the legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee.
Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., who is running for an open U.S. Senate seat in Tennessee, has recently characterized himself as "pro-life." Remarkably, some journalists and other commentators are gullibly accepting this characterization without checking out Ford’s 10-year voting record on abortion-related issues in the House of Representatives.
Over that decade, Ford voted against the pro-life side 87 percent of the time.
Ford’s recent attempt to adopt the "pro-life" label is merely a cynical marketing strategy. He knows it won’t upset the pro-abortion advocacy groups, because they — like we — are well acquainted with his voting record.
On various major abortion-related issues, Ford was the ONLY member of the Tennessee House delegation, Democrat or Republican, to vote on the pro-abortion side.
For example, Ford was the ONLY Tennessee Congressman to vote for federal funding of elective abortion on demand (when he voted to repeal the Hyde Amendment in 1997).
Ford was also the ONLY member of the Tennessee House delegation to vote against the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act in 2002 — a law that merely protects health care providers who do not wish to participate in providing abortions.
In 2003, Ford and Rep. Jim Cooper were the ONLY Tennessee members of Congress, House or Senate, to oppose "Laci and Conner’s Law," which recognizes an unborn child injured or killed in a violent federal crime as a bona fide crime victim. This bill did not even apply to abortion, but it was opposed on ideological grounds by the pro-abortion advocacy groups, and so Ford opposed it, too. (Ford gets high ratings from such groups, corresponding to the abysmal ratings he has always received from National Right to Life and other pro-life groups.)
Even on the rare occasions on which Ford has voted to pass a pro-life bill, it is usually after he has voted for unsuccessful gutting amendments. For example, Ford voted to pass the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in 2002 and 2003, but only after voting for unsuccessful hostile amendments that would have rendered the bill meaningless. (Before 2000, Ford repeatedly voted against passing the bill at all.)
Ford recently said that he wants to "eliminate abortions." But he supports Roe v. Wade, which requires states to allow abortion for any reason into the sixth month, and even during the seventh month and later if an abortionists says that the abortion would be helpful for a woman’s emotional "health." It is impossible to curb abortion on demand until the Supreme Court changes that radical ruling — but as a U.S. senator, Harold Ford, Jr., would have a vote that could help block new nominees to the Supreme Court.
Ford’s Republican opponent, Bob Corker, is running on a strong and clear pro-life agenda.
National Right to Life has prepared a three-page memo that describes Ford’s voting record in more detail. The memo (in PDF format), and all of the National Right to Life scorecards for abortion-related votes in Congress for the past 10 years, are posted here: https://www.capwiz.com/nrlc/home