John McCain Backs Overturning Roe Abortion Case, Skeptics Question

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 20, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

John McCain Backs Overturning Roe Abortion Case, Skeptics Question Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 20
, 2006

Washington, DC ( — Potential Republican presidential candidate John McCain said over the weekend that he favors overturning the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case that paved the way for unlimited abortion. However, a pro-life advocate questions McCain’s sincerity on the issue saying the Arizona senator is playing to the pro-life Republican primary crowd.

McCain appeared on the ABC News program "This Week" and host George Stephanopoulos asked McCain if he supported a "constitutional amendment banning abortion, with some exceptions for life and rape and incest."

"Rape, incest and the life of the mother. Yes," McCain replied.

He then clarified that he didn’t think a human life amendment would pass and said he thought the nation’s high court should overturn Roe.

"I don’t think a constitutional amendment is probably going to take place, but I do believe that it’s very likely or possible that the Supreme Court should — could overturn Roe v. Wade, which would then return these decisions to the states, which I support," McCain said.

McCain appears to be changing his position from a 1999 statement he gave to the San Francisco Chronicle in which he said he didn’t support repealing Roe.

"I’d love to see a point where it is irrelevant, and could be repealed because abortion is no longer necessary," McCain told the newspaper at the time. "But certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations."

Is McCain shifting his position on abortion because pro-life advocates considered him too weak of a pro-life candidate in 2000, when President George W. Bush defeated him in the primaries?

Jason Jones, the president of Catholic Precincts, a group that organizes Catholic voters, thinks so.

"John McCain has lacked consistency and clarity on many of our country’s paramount concerns, including abortion," he said in a statement obtained.

"His political history is littered with flip-flops on his abortion stance, including during his 2000 presidential run when he said he would hold a ‘family meeting’ to decide his grandchild’s fate should his daughter become pregnant," Jones added.

"Now as he considers a run again in 2008, McCain is trying to move toward the right by using pro-life language. But the voter should beware," Jones said. "This mid-term election proved that values voters are looking for substance, not rhetoric, and John McCain lacks substance on the defense of human life."

McCain has typically voted pro-life on abortion-related issues while serving int he Senate, including voting in March 2003 against an amendment to the partial-birth abortion ban that endorsed the Roe v. Wade decision.

However, McCain voted this year in favor of a bill forcing taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research and he upset pro-life groups by sponsoring a major campaign finance reform bill that contained several restrictions on what they could do during elections.

Because of those votes, pro-life voters will probably look elsewhere for a presidential candidate to support and key pro-life organization will likely run strong advertising campaigns telling voters McCain is not solidly pro-life.

McCain recently announced that he had created an exploratory committee, which allows him to raise funds for a potential candiacy.