Wednesday, October 29, 2008


OPINION View: Serious Pro-Life Advocates Must Vote for John
by Steven Ertelt

Online at

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

Despite the sadness of the anniversary, here 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 others 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 revering Roe and giving states a chance to protect
unborn children once again.

The day is coming that 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

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

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 election.

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

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 its 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 of the matter 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 advocate, 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 candidate with an equal chance of winning the
election in the say way as the Democratic or Republican
candidate. We're not there yet and, until then, votes for these
well-intentioned pro-life candidate 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

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.