Pro-Life Leaders Say John McCain Shouldn’t Pick Charlie Crist for VP

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 27, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Leaders Say John McCain Shouldn’t Pick Charlie Crist for VP

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 27
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — Leading pro-life advocates say one of the top considerations for John McCain for a vice-presidential running mate should be left off of his short list. They’re concerned Florida Gov. Charlie Crist isn’t sufficiently pro-life and would not motivate the base of the Republican Party in the way McCain needs to win.

Crist, the governor of the presidential battleground state with the most electoral votes, would be a natural pick for a GOP candidate on that basis alone.

The governor endorsed McCain during the primary and his victory in the Sunshine State was seen as confirmation that he had emerged as the likely Republican nominee.

With both points in mind, McCain may select Governor Crist as his vice-presidential running mate. Yet, some pro-life advocates hope that doesn’t happen.

Connie Mackay, a senior vice president at the Family Research Council told CBN news her group has concerns about Crist.

"While he claims to be pro-life he has not been an advocate…We would not be supportive of his candidacy for Vice-President…I think it would not help him," she explained.

"McCain needs to continue to try and energize the base. I think that would certainly not energize the base and I think I could go one step further and say it would de-energize the base," Mackay added.

Kelly Shackelford, the president of the Liberty Legal Institute pro-life law firm told CBN that a Crist selection "would certainly put the last nail in the coffin for social and Christian conservatives" but Shackelford says he doesn’t think McCain will select Crist.

Governor Crist has earned himself the scorn of some pro-life advocates in Florida over the three main pro-life issues — abortion, euthanasia and embryonic stem cell research.

On abortion, Crist called himself "pro-choice" as late as 1998, when he answered a questionnaire for the St. Petersburg Times and wrote, "I am pro-choice, but not pro-abortion. I believe that a woman has the right to choose, but would prefer only after careful consideration and consultation with her family, her physician and her clergy; not her government."

Crist apparently changed his position on abortion by his campaign for governor in 2006 because he told the newspaper then that "I’m pro-life. I don’t know how else to say it. I’m pro-life."

Still, Crist wouldn’t go as far as saying he thought Roe v. Wade should be overturned so states could, once again, offer legal protection for unborn children.

Crist’s position was lukewarm enough that Florida Right to Life endorsed his opponent Tom Gallagher in the Republican gubernatorial primary.

Crist also drew fire from pro-life advocates when he endorsed embryonic stem cell research and campaigned for a measure forcing taxpayers to fund it.

Later, Crist backed down and, in April 2007, supported a measure to fund adult stem cell research over the use of embryonic cells that are only obtained by destroying human life.

He told the Gainesville Sun newspaper that the change in position has to do with the political reality that many legislators don’t want to fund the destruction of human life.

"What is important is that we get this started… that we have a dedicated funding mechanism," Crist has told reporters. "We have to start somewhere."

Crist also received criticism on the Terri Schiavo debate about where he really stood on a Congressional bill that would have let Terri’s parents take their lawsuit to save her life to federal courts.

Crist so upset Terri’s family that her father, Robert Schindler, went as far as saying Crist "let my daughter die."

"He had it within his authority to save her life, but he turned a blind eye to her suffering,’’ Schindler wrote in an editorial.

Should McCain choose Crist as his running mate, some pro-life advocates who are already wary of McCain over his embryonic stem cell research position may decide not to vote or look to third party candidates.

Others will see the contrast between McCain and Obama or Clinton on abortion and stick with the Arizona senator because of it.