by Steven Ertelt
December 16, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Arizona Sen. John McCain held a national conference call with Catholic pro-life leaders across the country on Friday afternoon. McCain is one of several pro-life candidates seeking the Republican nomination for president and he told participants on the call that he would press the case for protecting the unborn if he heads to the White House.
Former Oklahoma governor Frank Keating introduced the senator at the beginning of the phone call and said McCain is “a man of integrity and a lifelong pro-life advocate.”
Father Frank Pavone, the director of Priests for Life, began the discussion and thanked McCain for his “clear and convincing pro-life voting record.”
Pavone said he is upset by politicians who say they oppose abortion but call it a personal position and refuse to promote public policy that conforms to their personal beliefs.
He asked Senator McCain what kind of approach he would take if elected president, according to a Catholic News Agency report.
“Father, I always quote that we are all created equal and endowed by our Creator with the inalienable rights, among them are life, and that applies to the born as well as the unborn,” McCain responded. “I believe it is a human right, as you said. And that’s why I’ve struggled for human rights all over the world.”
CNA reported that McCain continued, “Of course I would speak out for [the unborn] because I think that one of the enduring legacies and obligations of the United States of America is to continue to be a beacon of hope and freedom and that means advocacy for human rights.”
McCain told the Catholic leaders he would include pro-life advocates in his administration who could help him advance the issue.
“I would surround myself with people, in particular with Sam Brownback and Frank Keating, people who will provide me with the moral and spiritual guidance on this issue and other issues,” McCain said.
While McCain has compiled a strong pro-life voting record on abortion in the Senate, he’s upset pro-life advocates by repeatedly voting to force taxpayers to pay for embryonic stem cell research that involves the destruction of human life.
During the call, John Jakubczyk, an attorney and the former president of Arizona Right to Life, asked McCain if the new breakthrough in turning adult stem cells into an embryonic-like state would change his mind on the issue, CNA indicated.
McCain said he’s not sure the research is strong enough yet to prompt him to turn back on the issue and he said he’s worried about being perceived as a flip-flopper — a concern that has made some pro-life people hesitant to support Mitt Romney.
“I’m not there yet on changing that position for a couple reasons: one, I don’t think it’s totally been proven yet and second of all, there’s always the flip-flop aspect of this issue,” he said.