Pro-Life Group to Bob Schieffer: Ask McCain and Obama an Abortion Question

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 15, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Pro-Life Group to Schieffer: Give McCain, Obama Abortion Debate Question

by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 15
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — As CBS News anchor Bob Schieffer prepares to moderate Wednesday night’s final presidential candidate debate, one leading pro-life advocates hopes he will ask a question about abortion. Charmaine Yoest, the president of Americans United for Life, says it would help educate voters.

Yoest send a copy of an open letter she wrote to Schieffer asking him to make abortion part of the debate.

"As you prepare for Wednesday night’s final presidential debate, I know that you will be working to raise questions on domestic issues that are of interest to a wide range of Americans," she wrote. "I encourage you to ask each candidate about his views on abortion — something that has not been done at either of the previous debates."

Yoest said the topic is important because a sizable number of Americans are either single issue voters based on the abortion issue or include abortion as one of the top issues they use to evaluate the candidates.

Yoest has a specific question in mind — which gets to the divide between John McCain, who has a 96 percent pro-life voting record according to NARAL and Barack Obama, who opposes any law to reduce abortions.

"This is the question I encourage you to ask: What restrictions on abortion would you support in order to achieve the widely agreed upon goal of reducing the number of abortions in our country?" Yoest writes.

Although one abortion-related question is about all debate watchers could expect, Yoest suggests followups.

One might focus on the recent study by Dr. Michael New of the University of Alabama, who found that parental involvement laws reduce abortion by 13-31%. Yoest suggests: "Do you support the right of parents to be involved in the medical decisions of their minor daughters when abortion is being considered?"

Others might cover topics like taxpayer-funding for abortions, health and safety standards for abortion centers, or laws making sure abortions are done by licensed physicians.

Yoest conclude the letter, saying, "Particularly given that Wednesday night’s debate was scheduled to focus on domestic policy, the American voters need to hear each candidate respond to at least one question that addresses the topic of abortion, which is one of the central policy questions of our day."

Whether Schieffer asks an abortion question or not, Americans United for Life and other pro-life groups are working overtime during the final three weeks of the campaign to educate voters about the divide between the candidates.

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