Statist Duo Tap-Dance Around Abortion Issue
Abortion rights remain one of the most controversial and emotionally-driven issues in American politics. While the most vocal are the activists on either extreme of the spectrum, they don’t speak for the every-day citizen.
Indeed, polls consistently show that most Americans strongly dislike abortion but do not want it outlawed in the early stages of pregnancy. A large, if vaguely defined, middle group of Americans would like to see abortion vanish, but not by legal decree.- AP News
For years, the platform stance on abortion for the Republican and Democrat parties have remained fairly static- Republicans are against abortion and the federal funding of abortion in most cases, the Democrats unequivocally for both. It seems there is no middle ground, so the average voter remains without true representation of their view on the subject.
But recent changes and comments by both parties indicate that they are both moving towards the center on the issue.
Democrat party platform-writers said the party “unequivocally” supports legalized abortion, a stronger phrase than the 2004 platform contained.
But they also bolstered the section on reducing the need for abortions. The version awaiting approval in Denver says the party “strongly supports access to comprehensive affordable family planning services and age-appropriate sex education.” It says the party “strongly supports a woman’s decision to have a child by ensuring access to and availability of programs for pre- and postnatal health care, parenting skills, income support and caring adoption programs.” -AP News
On the Republican side, McCain surprised his supporters by announcing that he would consider picking a running mate that supported abortion rights.
On Wednesday, McCain said opposition to abortion is central to the GOP, but also cited former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge, who supports abortion rights, as someone worth considering.
“I think that the pro-life position is one of the important aspects or fundamentals of the Republican Party,” McCain told The Weekly Standard. “And I also feel that — and I’m not trying to equivocate here— that Americans want us working together. You know, Tom Ridge is one of the great leaders and he happens to be pro-choice. And I don’t think that would necessarily rule Tom Ridge out. -Boston.com
But is McCain’s comment enough to sway pro-choice voter’s to his side?
“Senator McCain appears to have caught Olympic fever with the freestyle flip-flop he’s attempting to pull off with his hints about the possibility of a pro-choice running mate,” Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America said in a statement. “Pro-choice Americans know that this flip-flop is not indicative of a policy shift or a reverse course for the anti-choice and anti-birth control McCain. -Boston.com
And how did the pro-life Republican base react?
Some conservative groups howled about McCain’s comments this week. The American Family Association asked readers of its Web site what they would do if he had a pro-abortion-rights running mate. More than 5,000 people responded, with 37 percent saying they would vote for McCain as “the lesser of two evils.” One percent backed Obama, 16 percent said they would not vote and 46 percent said they would seriously consider a third-party candidate. - AP News
Which brings us to Libertarian Party candidate, Bob Barr, and his pro-life, but constitutional stance on abortion. While personally pro-life, he also understands that the Constitution does not give the federal government the right or responsibility to make nation-wide, one-size-fits-all policy regarding abortion rights or to provide funding for it as long as it’s legal. Abortion legality and funding is a battle better fought at the state and local levels.
It appears that Congressman Barr is the Presidential Candidate that best represents the sentiments of most Americans regarding this important issue.