Townhall.com columnist Michael Medved addressed the abortion issue today and how it relates to the three leading GOP presidential contenders (Romney, Rudy, and McCain). Medved is spot on when he writes that “…pro-life forces represent a clear majority so all the leading Presidential candidates try to appeal to this crucial component of the party.”
But Medved’s description of where each candidate stands on this issue includes a few glaring mistakes.
On Governor Romney:
Mitt Romney ran for Senate in Massachusetts claiming to be “pro choice” and did little to address the issue as governor, but now says he learned with experience and warmly embraces the pro-life cause.
It’s accurate to say that Romney was pro-choice when he ran for Senate against Ted Kennedy in 1994. It’s also true that he now “warmly embraces the pro-life cause,” a reference to Romney’s genuine conversion on the issue.
But he “did little to address the issue as governor?” I’ve noticed that many pro-lifers seem to believe this is the case, when, in fact, Romney was very bold in his defense of life in Massachusetts. When a governor uses his veto pen on bills that expand embryonic stem cell research and emergency contraception, he’s clearly addressing the issue. In fact, a veto is perhaps the strongest statement an executive can make on an issue. When a governor provides a pro-life pregnancy resource center with a grant to teach abstinence in public schools, he’s addressing the issue by investing in programs that reduce teen pregnancy and abortion. Make no mistake about it: Governor Romney has addressed the issue in various meaningful ways.
During his extensive research on Governor Romney, National Review‘s John J. Miller accurately observed that “Romney has done his best to defend life on what is probably the most inhospitable terrain in the country.” Well said.
On Senator McCain:
John McCain, on the other hand, has a consistent, unabashed, admirable pro-life voting record — and among the viable candidates, he clearly can make the strongest pitch to anti-abortion activists.
The idea that McCain’s voting record on life issues is “consistent” and “unabashed” was exposed as a myth here long ago, but it’s worth reminding readers that McCain is an ardent supporter of federally-funded embryonic stem cell research. While Romney was vetoing unethical embryo destruction in Massachusetts, McCain was voting to have it paid for by American taxpayers, a move that infuriated pro-lifers. A consistent pro-life record? Hardly.
Pro-lifers who support Mitt Romney need to be on the look out for these false claims. Romney took significant pro-life action as governor and McCain’s support of embryonic stem cell research reveals a record that is inconsistent on life issues.