McCain’s positions on abortion have been, even for someone who is firmly on the anti-privacy and choice side of the ledger, all over the road. But the least odious of the miserable positions that he takes is that he would like to see the decision revert back to the states, where a good number of states already have “trigger laws” on the books, which would effectively ban the right for a woman to have control over her personal private medical decisions.
And if we look at the extremists such as LifeNews, we will find that they too are not all that happy about the media coverage of McCain - but not in ways that many of us are unhappy with the media coverage.
No, what LifeNews wants all of America to know, and on this point I agree wholeheartedly with them, is that McCain not only is against a woman’s right of personal private medical decisions over her own body, but he is in favor of a Constitutional Amendment to ban abortions.
Don’t you think this is something that all of the independents and people who think McCain is a “moderate” or not completely insane or who is respectful of women should know?
Let’s take a look at a few things that show what the real McCain is all about. First, here is the republican Party’s platform on abortion:
Human Life Amendment to the Constitution (from 2004’s platform)
We must keep our pledge to the first guarantee of the Declaration of Independence. That is why we say the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and we endorse legislation to make it clear that the 14th Amendment's protections apply to unborn children. Our purpose is to have legislative and judicial protection of that right against those who perform abortions. We oppose using public revenues for abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life.
Ban abortion with Constitutional amendment (from the 2000 platform)
We say the unborn child has a fundamental right to life. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and we endorse legislation that the 14th Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. Our purpose is to have legislative and judicial protection of that right against those who perform abortions. We oppose using public revenues for abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect the sanctity of innocent human life.
So, let’s start with that. There is also this exchange between McCain and Sean Hannity from this past March:
”I got a call from a lot of people and they knew I was going to interview you today," Hannity said. "And I think one of the areas that came up the most is would you leave the pro-life language in the platform and the marriage amendment in the platform."
McCain responded, "yes,"
OK, you may say, that just shows that a weak candidate doesn’t want to rock the boat when it comes to riling up the fundie wing of the party. But then you see this exchange with George Stephanopoulos in 2006:
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me ask one question about abortion. Then I want to turn to Iraq. You’re for a constitutional amendment banning abortion, with some exceptions for life and rape and incest.
MCCAIN: Rape, incest and the life of the mother. Yes.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So is President Bush, yet that hasn’t advanced in the six years he’s been in office. What are you going to do to advance a constitutional amendment that President Bush hasn’t done?
MCCAIN: I don’t think a constitutional amendment is probably going to take place, but I do believe that it’s very likely or possible that the Supreme Court should — could overturn Roe v. Wade, which would then return these decisions to the states, which I support.
So here, we have McCain supporting a Constitutional amendment and a “return of Roe to the states”, although he thinks that a SCOTUS reversal of Roe is more feasible. And with trigger laws already on the books, we can see that this may be the path of lesser resistance. However, there is, at least in 2006, an outright support by McCain to ban abortion via a Constitutional amendment except in extreme circumstances. Interestingly, this (as well as the call for a “marriage amendment”) would be the only potential Constitutional amendments that take away rights of Americans.
Let’s look back a few years - to 1999, which is a time that McCain actually said how he truly felt more often than not and had an element of “straight talk” to him - certainly light years more than today. As uncovered by Media Matters, on the January 30 edition of Meet the Press, there was this exchange with McCain on abortion and a Constitutional amendment:
Russert: "A constitutional amendment to ban all abortions?"
McCain: "Yes, sir."
Russert: "You're for that?"
McCain: "Yes, sir."
The problem here is that, to this day, whether it is coming from LifeNews or Media Matters - the corporate media is not telling the truth about McCain’s position on banning a woman’s right to make private medical decisions for herself. Granted, it is difficult to tell the total truth about McCain when he doesn’t do so himself and so frequently contradicts himself.
But one thing is clear - McCain has consistently looked to restrict a woman’s right to make her own decisions - whether it be overturning Roe and allowing states to outlaw a woman’s right to make her own medical decisions, whether it be a Constitutional amendment that would be the first (other than the since-repealed prohibition) to restrict people’s rights, or whether it is a modified version that outlaws women’s rights with limited exceptions.
So which one is it, Senator? And just as importantly, what would you propose as a punishment for women who “break the laws or amendments” that you seek to enforce? Would you imprison them? Would you imprison their doctors?
I think the country has a right to know just how far you would go to restrict people’s rights to make their own personal medical decisions and what you would do to “punish” those who don’t comply with your draconian wishes.
How about a little straight talk, for once?