View: Pro-Life Voters Must Back McCain to Stop Abortion

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 29, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC View: Pro-Life Voters Must Back McCain to Stop Abortion

by Steven Ertelt
October 29, 2008 Note: Steven Ertelt is the editor of

For pro-life voters, the stakes in the presidential election next month couldn’t be more clear.

In January, our nation marked 35 years of legalized abortion. It was a day to mourn the loss of tens of millions of unborn children — sons and daughters, brothers and sisters lost to a world that values choice over compassion. It was a day to mourn the damage abortion does to women — the medical problems, the mental health issues, and the damaging of relationships with friends and family, and the destruction of relationships with God.

Despite the sadness of the anniversary, there was good news. Because of the pro-life record compiled by President Bush and the pro-life laws approved in state legislatures across the country (and due in part to abstinence education programs and crisis pregnancy centers) the number of abortions were reported at their lowest levels since Roe.

For 35 years, the pro-life community has been trying to overturn the infamous Roe v. Wade decision that allowed abortions throughout pregnancy for any reason. Restoring legal protection for unborn children state by state has always been a pro-life goal and a precursor to a human life amendment to restore protection for women and children nationally.

As other pro-life leaders have articulated so well, the next president will have the ability to change the fate of abortion for decades.

Although there are detractors who deny President Bush’s pro-life record, his greatest achievement on the pro-life front is the appointment of two Supreme Court judges — who have already reversed one Supreme Court precedent when it comes to abortion and will likely reverse another. We’re now hopefully just one vote away from reversing Roe and giving states a chance to protect unborn children once again.

The day is coming when abortion will be no more. We’re right around the corner and that light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and brighter.

But, we could lose this battle in one fell swoop this November if we don’t do our part to elect a pro-life president. If we don’t unite behind Senator John McCain and prevent the election of Barack Obama, we could face 35 more years of legalized abortion.

The next president will have the chance to appoint one or two or even three Supreme Court judges and, if the retiring pro-abortion members of the court are replaced by pro-abortion judges abortion will continue without any limits for decades.

Faithful readers of know how Barack Obama is well outside the mainstream view of Americans on abortion.

He supports abortions throughout pregnancy for any reason, even though polls show just a handful of Americans support that view. Obama opposes common-sense laws to reduce abortions that have the backing of the strong majority of Americans — rejecting a partial-birth abortion ban, parental involvement laws for minor girls, informed consent, and bans on taxpayer funding of abortion.

Obama supposedly takes a "personally opposed, but" position opposing abortions personally, but expressing an unwillingness to making them illegal in the same way he would make illegal other objectionable practices. However, he betrayed that viewpoint by telling Pennsylvania voters that he didn’t want his daughters "punished" with a baby should they find themselves pregnant as teenagers.

Obama talks a good game — frequently mentioning his opposition to abortion, calling for programs to provide more support for pregnant women. Yet, he has voted against supporting pregnant women and their unborn children through the SCHIP program and he has promised Planned Parenthood he will follow their lead on legislation (which includes a bill to put pregnancy help centers out of business). Obama has not put forth any comprehensive proposals to provide tangible support for pregnant women and to reduce abortions.

Instead, Obama promised in July 2007 that his first action as president wouldn’t be improving the nation’s economy, providing health care or education or tackling any of the other issues that concern most Americans — rather, it would be overturning every single law that limits or reduces abortion in all 50 states.

Of course, at this point so much has been written about Barack Obama’s pro-abortion views and his votes against bills in the Illinois state legislature to provide protection for newborn babies who survive failed abortions. Anyone not familiar with how his record is as extreme or more than prior pro-abortion presidential candidates hasn’t been paying attention.

For the pro-life community, stopping an Obama presidency is absolutely vital to giving any hope to unborn children that Roe will be reversed and the pro-life protections we have fought so hard for during the last 35 years will stay on the books.

But pro-life voters have more to vote for and this presidential election is so much more than merely opposing a thoroughly pro-abortion candidate.

In John McCain, the pro-life community has a candidate who has not agreed with us on every point but has been rock solid on the issue of abortion.

McCain has been dogged heavily by the pro-life movement over the years for his championing campaign finance reform and for his votes in favor of embryonic stem cell research funding. That has left an indelible impression that he is somehow not pro-life on abortion. That’s wrong.

On the most monumental issue for pro-life advocates — judges — McCain has voted for the pro-life nominees we’ve supported who we think will be most likely to overturn Roe.

When talking about the kind of judges he would put forward as president, he’s used the same language as previous pro-life presidents who have looked for judges who will not make the law form the bench as the high court did in 1973 to legalize unlimited abortions.

While Obama has a pro-abortion litmus test, McCain has said he wants judges who respect the original intent of the Constitution — judges in the mold of William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, and new justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito. Those are the kind of judges who will pave the way for protecting unborn children.

McCain has also consistently championed the reversal of Roe v. Wade. The senator has come around fully on this issue after taking a tenuous position a decade ago. But he proved his pro-life credentials when he voted against a resolution honoring Roe that the Senate hoped to attach to the partial-birth abortion ban.

While McCain has never been one to forcefully advocate pro-life values, his actions frequently speak louder than words and his vote against Roe indicates he understands why even some pro-abortion attorneys admit it was one of the worst decisions in the history of the Supreme Court.

His actions also speak louder than words when it comes to voting on pro-life issues in the Senate.

On abortion-related votes in the Senate, McCain has been on the side of life. Whether it’s parental involvement laws, protecting women and unborn children from violence, the Born Alive bill, or funding abortions both here and abroad, McCain has voted pro-life. NARAL puts his pro-life voting record at 96% and National Right to Life gives him equally high marks for abortion-related votes.

McCain also put his money where his mouth is when he and his wife Cindy adopted a baby girl from Mother Teresa’s orphanage. Abortion advocates like to criticize pro-life advocates who have never adopted a child by implicating that somehow we haven’t put our pro-life values to the test — as if that’s a determiner. McCain has done this and didn’t bat an eyelash when Cindy came home with his daughter.

Yet, when McCain does talk about pro-life issues, he has been forceful. His video to the National Right to Life convention and a radio address devoted to critiquing Obama display this.

Senator McCain also displayed his pro-life credentials when selecting a running mate. Lobbied by the media and the small pro-abortion faction within the Republican Party to pick someone like Tom Ridge, he looked to a pro-life advocate in Sarah Palin who couldn’t be more strong on the issue.

That selection spoke volumes about the kind of person McCain is, that he was willing to forego the conventional wisdom to pick someone who has proven to be an inspiration to the pro-life movement and awaken it to the catastrophic consequences of this election on abortion.

Some pro-life advocates are reluctant to support McCain because of his votes on embryonic stem cell research. They have a point and certainly does not endorse his position that public funds should be used for research that involves the destruction of human life.

But there are several caveats to consider.

The first is that the issue of abortion is so significant that not voting for McCain and allowing Obama to capture the White House — where he will advocate both unlimited abortions and unlimited ESCR funding — does the pro-life movement a severe disservice by condemning babies to death from abortions.

The fact is that McCain is persuadable on the issue of embryonic stem cell research and the best and brightest may have already changed his mind. Alternatives like adult stem cell research and the new iPSCs are also moving McCain away from this position. He certainly can’t flip-flop on such a key issue before the election but no one should be surprised if McCain reverses his position after he is elected.

Additionally, McCain, unlike Obama, does not support human cloning, nor does he support the purposeful creation and destruction of human embryos in "fetal farms" the way Obama does. McCain would also be much more likely to shift federal funding towards adult stem cells than to embryonic as Obama would do. These are all considerations pro-life voters who can’t stomach McCain for bioethics reasons must consider.

Furthermore, Obama has said repeatedly that the vote he regrets most in the Senate is his vote on protecting Terri Schiavo from a painful starvation and dehydration death. Assisted suicide and euthanasia have not featured prominently in this election, but it is clear that Obama will lead the nation down a path of allowing the horrific practices.

With patients in Oregon already experiencing the denial of medical treatment from the government in favor of paying for an assisted suicide, the last thing we need in the White House is a president who will turn the other 49 states into safe harbors for future Doctor Kevorkians.

Finally, some pro-life advocates, as they do every election, gravitate to third-party candidates. Those pro-life voters, while we disagree on strategy, are certainly pro-life in their principles and values.

Yet, those candidates have absolutely no chance of winning and putting their pro-life beliefs into public policy. As such, they may as well be pro-abortion candidates because they will never affect the abortion debate as president.

Someday the dynamics of third parties may change and America may see a third party candidate with an equal chance of winning the election in the same way as the Democratic or Republican candidate. We’re not there yet and, until then, votes for these well-intentioned pro-life candidates do nothing but make it easier for the pro-abortion candidate to win.

We must defeat Barack Obama and we must elect John McCain to give unborn babies any hope for the future.

With Barack Obama as president, we have a guarantee of going back to 1973 where only two Supreme Court judges believed babies deserve protection before and after birth. We can’t let that happen.

If you’re serious about your pro-life values, if you seriously want to reduce abortions, if you don’t want 35 years of life-dedicating work to be overturned, vote for John McCain.

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