Tag Archives: Abortion

The Candidates on Abortion


McCain supports the following statements:

1. Abortions should be legal only when the pregnancy resulted from incest, rape, or when the life of the woman is endangered.
2. Prohibit the late-term abortion procedure known as “partial-birth” abortion.
3. Prohibit public funding of abortions and public funding of organizations that advocate or perform abortions.

Source: Project Vote Smart, 1998, http://www.vote-smart.org Jul 2, 1998

McCain said he thought Roe v. Wade should be overturned and said he would support exceptions to a ban on abortion in cases of rape, incest, and when the mother’s life is in danger.

Source: Boston Globe, p. A11 Jan 22, 2000

McCain does support stem cell research: “I believe that we need to fund this. This is a tough issue for those of us in the pro-life community. I would remind you that these stem cells are either going to be discarded or perpetually frozen. We need to do what we can to relieve human suffering. It’s a tough issue. I support federal funding.”

Source: 2007 GOP primary debate, at Reagan library, hosted by MSNBC May 3, 2007

McCain voted against funding for sex education and contraceptives: “Voted against adopting an amendment to the Senate’s 2006 Fiscal Year Budget that would allocate $100 million for the prevention of unintended pregnancies. A YES vote would expand access to preventive health care services that reduce unintended pregnancy (including teen pregnancy), reduce the number of abortions, and improve access to women’s health care. A YES vote would:
– Increase funding and access to family planning services
– Funds legislation that requires equitable prescription coverage for contraceptives under health plans
– Funds legislation that would create and expand teen pregnancy prevention programs and education programs concerning emergency contraceptives

Reference: Appropriation to expand access to preventive health care services; Bill S.Amdt. 244 to S Con Res 18 ; vote number 2005-75 on Mar 17, 2005

McCain will try to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that made abortion within the first trimester legal (based on the 9th amendment that the constitution cannot “deny or disparage” a person’s individual rights), and abortion after the third trimester legal in only certain cases (rape, incest, etc.) One of his spokesmen has described his voting record on the issue: “[McCain has a 17-year voting record of supporting efforts to overturn Roe vs. Wade. He does that currently, and will continue to do that as president.” (Source: Ron Fournier, Associated Press Aug 24, 1999.) 


Unlike McCain, Palin opposes stem cell research: According to an October 2006 profile in the Anchorage Daily News, Palin opposes stem cell research, physician-assisted suicide, and state health benefits for same-sex partners.

Source: Boston Globe, “A valentine to evangelical base”, p. A12 Aug 30, 2008

Palin supported the “Safe Haven Bill”, allowing parents to surrender infants without penalty: “Palin signed House Bill 29 into law today. The ‘Safe Haven for Infants Act’ passed the State House in May and passed the Senate on Jan. 19. The bill allows a parent to safely surrender a newborn child without the threat of prosecution, as long as there is no evidence the infant has been physically injured.

Without penalty, a parent may leave the infant in the physical custody of a peace officer, physician or hospital employee, or a volunteer or employee of a fire station or emergency medical service. ‘All children deserve to begin their lives in a loving, protective family,’ Governor Palin said. ‘When that fails, it is our job as a state to make sure that children are protected.’”

Source: Alaska Governor’s Office: Press release 08-020, “Safe Haven” Feb 11, 2008

She believes that the only case in which abortion is acceptable is when the mother’s life is in imminent danger: “I am pro-life. With the exception of a doctor’s determination that the mother’s life would end if the pregnancy continued. I believe that no matter what mistakes we make as a society, we cannot condone ending a life.”

Source: Eagle Forum 2006 Gubernatorial Candidate Questionnaire Jul 31, 2006


Obama supports the state’s right to restrict late-term abortions: “On an issue like partial birth abortion, I strongly believe that the state can properly restrict late-term abortions. I have said so repeatedly. [I’ve also said] we should have a provision to protect the health of the mother, and many of the bills that came before me didn’t have that.” 

Source: Fox News Sunday: 2008 presidential race interview Apr 27, 2008

Obama also voted against banning partial birth abortion outright. “In 1997, Obama voted against SB 230, which would have turned doctors into felons by banning so-called partial-birth abortion, & against a 2000 bill banning state funding. Although these bills included an exception to save the life of the mother, they didn’t include anything about abortions necessary to protect the health of the mother. The legislation defined a fetus as a person, & could have criminalized virtually all abortion.”

Source: The Improbable Quest, by John K. Wilson, p.147-148 Oct 30, 2007

In his own book, The Audacity of Hope, Obama writes about a meeting pro-life protestors:

“[An abortion protester at a campaign event] handed me a pamphlet. ‘Mr. Obama, I know you’re a Christian, with a family of your own. So how can you support murdering babies?’

I told him I understood his position but had to disagree with it. I explained my belief that few women made the decision to terminate a pregnancy casually; that any pregnant woman felt the full force of the moral issues involved when making that decision; that I feared a ban on abortion would force women to seek unsafe abortions, as they had once done in this country. I suggested that perhaps we could agree on ways to reduce the number of women who felt the need to have abortions in the first place. [Note: Obama has voted to increase funding for sex education programs and distribution of contraception to low-income women – Source: Campaign booklet, “Blueprint for Change”, p. 35-36 Feb 2, 2008].

‘I will pray for you,’ the protester said. ‘I pray that you have a change of heart.’ 

Neither my mind nor my heart changed that day, nor did they in the days to come. But that night, before I went to bed, I said a prayer of my own-that I might extend the same presumption of good faith to others that had been extended to me.”

Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.197-8 Oct 1, 2006

Obama has supported, and will support, the Roe vs. Wade decision. 


Biden scores 36% by NARAL on pro-choice voting record: “For over thirty years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has been the political arm of the pro-choice movement and a strong advocate of reproductive freedom and choice. NARAL Pro-Choice America’s mission is to protect and preserve the right to choose while promoting policies and programs that improve women’s health and make abortion less necessary. NARAL Pro-Choice America works to educate Americans and officeholders about reproductive rights and health issues and elect pro-choice candidates at all levels of government. The NARAL ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization’s preferred position.” (For instance, Biden opposes partial-birth abortion (and voted to ban it) and agrees with the Catholic Church that life begins at conception. He supports Roe vs. Wade, but believes that there should be no federal funding for abortions).

Source: NARAL website 03n-NARAL on Dec 31, 2003

What is Roe vs. Wade?

Roe v. Wade (January 22, 1973), is the historic Supreme Court decision overturning a Texas interpretation of abortion law and making abortion legal in the United States. The Roe v. Wade decision held that a woman, with her doctor, could choose abortion in earlier months of pregnancy without restriction, and with restrictions in later months, based on the right to privacy.

Effect of the Roe v. Wade decision:
Roe v. Wade invalidated all state laws limiting women’s access to abortions during the first trimester of pregnancy. State laws limiting such access during the second trimester were upheld only when the restrictions were for the purpose of protecting the health of the pregnant woman. Roe v. Wade legalized abortion in the United States, which was not legal at all in many states and was limited by law in others.

Basis of the Roe v. Wade decision:
Roe v. Wade was decided primarily on the Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution, a part of the Bill of Rights. The Court’s decision in this case was that the Ninth Amendment, in stating that “the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people,” protected a person’s right to privacy.

(adapted from http://womenshistory.about.com/od/abortionuslegal/p/roe_v_wade.htm)

Note: this is a complicated issue, no? Whether you are pro-life or pro-choice, there is no candidate who is clearly one or the other. Obama and Biden are the most pro-choice, but they will probably vote to restrict abortions while also encouraging stem-cell research (which, if you do the research on this one, does not actually encourage abortion as some people think). McCain and Palin are the most pro-life, but they both agree that abortion might be necessary in certain cases (although they disagree on which cases those would be). 

So, there you go. Post #1. I got most of my information from a great website: http://www.ontheissues.org. It is a collection of voting records, interviews, speeches, etc. on very issue you could think of, and it is updated regularly. There is also no analysis or commentary. Only facts. For those of you who say you “just don’t know enough about the issues or the candidates to vote,” please check this website out. It’ll take you ten minutes. Think of an issue that you find important, look at how the candidates have voted, read some quotes from interviews, and viola: informed. 

Then, go register to vote (Wal-Mart even registers new voters), ask for a mail-in ballot so you don’t even have to go anywhere on election day, and VOTE! VOTE! VOTE! 

The next post will be on energy and environmental policy. Stay tuned.


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