by Steven Ertelt
January 8, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — One of the top abortion activists in the United States has signed on to assist former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards as he undertakes a second campaign for president. Kate Michelman, who was the president of NARAL for almost 20 years, will serve as a senior campaign advisor.
Edwards campaigned for the Democratic nomination in 2004 and ran a better race than political observers expected. He wound up the vice presidential nominee running alongside pro-abortion Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry.
Michelman endorsed Kerry’s candidacy and was spotlighted in an infamous photo at a pro-abortion rally hugging the candidate.
In her role with the Edwards campaign, Michelman will conduct outreach to women voters.
She told the Associated Press in an interview that she signed up to help Edwards because of his commitment to keeping abortion legal and his aggressive stance against poverty. Michelman has frequently talked about her time on welfare and her supposed need for an abortion after splitting with her husband decades ago.
"He has never backed down or retreated from a woman’s right to choose, and he understands women’s role in society," Michelman told AP. "And he knows that most Americans in poverty are women and children."
Reacting to the news, Karen Cross, the political director of the National Right to Life Committee, told LifeNews.com that Michelman’s involvement "underscores not only his strong pro-abortion stance, but also his strong ties to the pro-abortion movement."
"Edwards has clearly staked out a position as a political leader of the pro-abortion movement, and he has plenty of company – all of the Democrats mentioned as possibly presidential candidates have deep-rooted pro-abortion positions as well," Cross explained.
Michelman said she supports Edwards despite the potential candidacy of pro-abortion New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, who would be the first significant female candidate for president should she run.
"I made my assessment based on factors other than gender. Gender’s important, but it’s not the only factor," she told AP, calling Clinton a "great friend."
In the interview, Michelman also had words of praise for pro-abortion Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, who leads in polls of Democrats along with Edwards and Clinton, and pro-abortion New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who lent his name to a NARAL political fundraising campaign in 2004.
Edwards made his presidential campaign official two weeks ago.
"I’m here to announce I’m a candidate for president of the United States," Edwards told NBC’s "Today Show." "I’ve reached my own conclusion this is the best way to serve my country."
Edwards has compiled a record in favor of abortion that pro-life groups call extreme.
During his tenure in the U.S. Senate, Edwards voted against pro-life legislation at every turn — even opposing a ban on partial-birth abortions. He accumulated a 0% pro-life record while in the Senate, according to the National Right to Life Committee.
Edwards voted for taxpayer funding of abortions in various situations and, in March 2003, voted for an amendment that expressed the Senate’s support for the Roe v. Wade decision that allowed unlimited abortions and said the landmark ruling should not be overturned.
The former North Carolina senator also backed the pro-abortion judicial decision in a similar 1999 vote.
NRLC legislative director Douglas Johnson previously talked about Edwards’ record with LifeNews.com.
"During his nearly six years in the U.S. Senate, John Edwards — like John Kerry — has consistently voted according to the dictates of hard-line pro-abortion advocacy groups, and contrary to the policies favored by most Americans," Johnson said.
Outlining his pro-abortion position, Edwards said during a speech at a NARAL dinner in January 2003 that "The right to choose is an essential ingredient to realize the full equality of America."
In May 2003, Edwards addressed EMILY’s List donors, attempting to strengthen their resolve to put a pro-abortion candidate in the White House in 2004, though pro-life President George W. Bush ultimately defeated pro-abortion Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts.
Edwards favors appointing only abortion advocates to key federal court positions, and opposed President Bush’s Supreme Court nominees. He highlighted that in the Emily’s List address.
"These judges, some of these judges, that come out of the White House, they will take your rights away. It is no more complicated than that," Edwards told the pro-abortion group.
Edwards has tried before to have it both ways on the abortion issue — making his unbridled support for abortion appear more moderate.
"I believe that the difficult question of abortion should be left for a woman to decide in consultation with her family, her physician, and her faith," Edwards said during Congressional debate on the partial-birth abortion ban.
"However, once the fetus has reached viability, I believe we have a responsibility, and a constitutional ability, to protect the unborn child," he added.
After a handful of pro-life Democrats emerged victorious in the 2006 Congressional elections and with attempts by other potential Democratic presidential candidates, such as Hillary Clinton, to moderate their pro-abortion records, Edwards will likely continue his attempts to do the same.