John McCain Will Keep Pro-Life Abortion Plank in Republican Party Platform

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 17, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

John McCain Will Keep Pro-Life Abortion Plank in Republican Party Platform Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 17
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — In an interview last week, presidential candidate John McCain said he would keep the pro-life plank on abortion in the Republican Party’s platform. The party currently calls for a human life amendment to the Constitution that would provide legal protection for unborn children.

However a leading pro-life group is calling on McCain to issue a stronger statement supporting the current pro-life platform language.

In a Thursday night interview with Fox News Channel’s Hannity and Colmes, host Sean Hannity said conservative activists are curious about McCain’s stance on the platform.

"I got a call from a lot of people and they knew I was going to interview you today," Hannity said. "And I think one of the areas that came up the most is would you leave the pro-life language in the platform and the marriage amendment in the platform."

McCain responded, "yes," but spent his answer addressing the marriage issue and didn’t talk about the pro-life plank during his response.

On Monday, Family Research Council Action senior vice president Connie Mackey told her group wants a stronger and more enunciated stance from McCain.

"Last Thursday night, Senator McCain tepidly endorsed the GOP’s platform concerning the protection of life," she said. "Senator McCain needs to clarify that the language concerning the social issues in the Republican Platform is safe and will not be tampered with."

Earlier this month, Colleen Parro of the Republican National Coalition for Life told that McCain could send a strong message to the majority of Republican voters who are pro-life by endorsing the platform language.

"John McCain should let us know that he understands there can be no “common ground” between people who think it should be legal to kill babies before they are born and those who wish to protect their lives," Parro said.

"If John McCain wants to unify the Party in order to win in November, he must begin by stating his unequivocal support for the pro-life plank," she added.

As recently as April 2007, McCain told ABC News that he wants to keep the pro-life platform. But he has called for changing it to allow abortions in the very rare cases of rape or incest.

Delegates to the Republican convention in Minneapolis this summer will reconsider the party’s 93-page platform that opposes abortion and supports President Bush’s policy against using tax dollars to fund embryonic stem cell research.

The current GOP position on abortion advocates a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution that would afford legal protection to unborn children throughout pregnancy.

"As a country, we must keep our pledge to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence. That is why we say the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed," the platform reads.

The Republican Party has supported a pro-life amendment to the Constitution since 1976, the first convention after the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

Republican Party activists have continually rebuffed efforts to remove the plank from the platform and pro-abortion GOP groups calling for its removal appear out of step with most Republican voters.

Post-election polling after the 2004 presidential elections found that President Bush’s pro-life stance gave him an edge over pro-abortion Sen. John Kerry.

A 2004 Wirthlin Worldwide post-election poll found that 39 percent of voters said abortion affected the way they voted for president. Twenty-four percent of voters cast their ballots for President Bush while 15% voted for Kerry, giving Bush a 9 percent advantage on the issue of abortion.

Eight percent of voters in the Wirthlin poll indicated abortion was the "most important" issue affecting their votes and Bush won among those voters by a six to two percent margin, leading Kerry by four percentage points among the most intense abortion voters.

Including Texas and Ohio voters who cast ballots on Tuesday, the number of states with a pro-life Republican majority jumps to 19 out of 24 that have voted thus far and had exit polling data.

The Texas exit poll included 1,545 Republicans and 69 percent said abortion should be illegal while just 29 percent said abortion should remain illegal. The pro-life margin in Ohio was 70-28 percent.

Other states have pro-life Republican majorities, including California, Florida, Georgia, and Illinois. Some of the most competitive states in the 2008 presidential elections do as well, including Iowa, Missouri, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Exit Polling Shows Most States With
Pro-Life Republican Majorities

State Pro-Life v. Pro-Abortion Always Illegal Mostly Illegal Mostly Legal Always Legal Alabama 76-20% 32% 44% 15% 5% Arizona 58-37% 17% 42% 25% 13% Arkansas 80-18% 37% 43% 13% 6% California 54-42% 19% 35% 28% 14% Connecticut 46-50% 13% 33% 30% 20% Florida 54-44% 18% 35% 30% 14% Georgia 64-33% 25% 39% 24% 9% Illinois 64-33% 26% 38% 23% 10% Iowa 74-23% 25% 49% 16% 7% Louisiana 75-22% 38% 37% 15% 7% Maryland 56-42% 17% 39% 28% 14% Massachusetts 41-56% 13% 28% 37% 19% Missouri 74-23% 32% 43% 18% 6% New Hampshire 45-52% 15% 30% 32% 20% New Jersey 46-53% 16% 29% 34% 19% New York 48-49% 14% 34% 28% 21% Ohio 70-28% 27% 43% 22% 6% Oklahoma 76-22% 27% 49% 17% 6% South Carolina 71-28% 28% 43% 19% 9% Tennessee 75-22% 33% 42% 15% 7% Texas 68-29% 25% 44% 22% 7% Utah 85-13% 10% 75% 10% 3% Virginia 63-34% 25% 38% 25% 9% Wisconsin 74-25% 27% 47% 16% 9%

Source:, compiled from CNN exit polling data.