Red State, Slave State:McCain echoes Bush on Roe v. Wade

On July 22, 1998, McCain filled out the National Right to Life Committee's 1998 Congressional Candidate Questionnaire, including this question:

"Do you support the complete reversal of the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton decisions, thereby allowing the state legislatures and the Congress to once again protect unborn children?"

McCain responded, "Yes."

 
On August 19, 1999, McCain told the San Francisco Chronicle, "I'd love to see a point where [Roe v. Wade] is irrelevant, and could be repealed because abortion is no longer necessary.  But certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe vs. Wade"

The NRLC objected to McCain's "pro-Roe" statement. McCain's campaign staff defended his position, claiming it was similar to that of his opponent, Texas Governor George Bush.  NRLC disputed that, noting Bush consistently favored overturning Roe v. Wade

How did McCain respond to this in his next interview on Meet The Press?  Good question....

On September 12, on NBC's Meet the Press, host Tim Russert read McCain his statement to the San Francisco Chronicle and then asked,

"Would President McCain support the repeal of Roe v. Wade in the short term?"

McCain responded, "I would support the movement in that direction."

McCain's response to Russert was consistent with numerous public statements.  Two weeks prior to his appearance on Meet The Press, on August 31, McCain spoke to this issue at a news conference in New Hampshire.  McCain said he would "immediately support efforts to move in (the) direction" of banning abortion if he was elected president.

Over the last 8 years, Bush has made significant progress toward overturning Roe v. Wade.  Just look at what he has done with the Supreme Court.  He has placed Alito and Roberts on the Supreme Court.  It is widely believed among legal scholars that Alito, Roberts, Scalia and Thomas would all vote to overturn Roe v. Wade if they get the opportunity to rule on the matter.   One more conservative vote will enable the court to move in the direction McCain and Bush have both embraced -- the repeal of Roe v. Wade.  

The next president will have a chance to nominate at least one and possibly two Supreme Court justice.  John Paul Stevens is old enough to be McCain's father.  Ruth Bader Ginsburg is older than McCain and is a recent cancer survivor.  Given McCain's persistent problems with political alliances on the Right, appointing a strident conservative would be an excellent opportunity for him to pander to that wing of his party.  

Some people like to dismiss this talk of overturning Roe v. Wade is a "dystopian fantasy." I disagree.  For those who can't imagine such a dramatic reversal of fortune, I have one word for you:  <u>Reconstruction.</u>  

A quick history lesson:
In 1866, Republicans forced passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 over the veto of President Andrew Johnson.  In 1868, Congress ratified the 14th Amendment, which guaranteed the rights granted to free blacks could never be repealed by a subsequent congress.  In 1870, Congress ratified the 15th Amendment, guaranteeing blacks the right to vote.  These sweeping pieces of legislation paved the way for blacks to live as equals with whites, making them citizens and supposedly protecting their citizenship against discrimination...or so their proponents thought.

Unfortunately, the laws and constitutional amendments that supposedly gave blacks political power and social protection proved easier to write than to enforce.  From the beginning, Southerners despised Northern attempts to "reconstruct" a new, more tolerant South. White supremacists, former slave-owners yearning for a return to "Dixieland," and Democrats hoping to gain a Southern power-base all worked against the reforms.  

The Supreme Court was no friend to these new citizens.  Decisions in United States v. Cruickshank and Williams v. Mississippi established the poll tax and literacy requirements in order to vote.  Poll taxes and literacy standards had the effect of disenfranchising the lower classes.  Most former slaves received no money or education from their former masters.  Thus, most blacks could not pay the taxes or read.  This effectively removed blacks from the political scene wherever those laws were enacted.  As a result of these laws, black representation in Congress, local and state legislatures quickly disappeared.  

Subsequent Supreme Court decisions, especially Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896 (which legalized segregation) led to the complete social separation of blacks from whites.  As a result of this law, blacks were forbidden to even use the same bathrooms or water fountains as whites. Segregated schools left many blacks bereft of a good education, thus denying them important opportunities to move up the social ladder.

A mindset soon developed as a result of these actions that allowed white supremacists to convince ordinary white citizens that blacks deserved to be at the bottom, thus retarding further civil rights progress and reversing important gains for generations. 

The few remaining blacks who chose to exercise their rights were simply intimidated by violence.  Lynchings of "uppity negroes" were commonplace and served to terrorize communities into silence.  

The relevance of this history lesson should be obvious to anyone familiar with the growing number of attacks on family planning clinics or doctors providing safe and legal abortions.  

Choice is on the ballot in November
It is hard to overstate the impact overturning Roe will have. One thing is certain.  Undoing the damage will require a pitched fight that will last generations.  Expect this court to be no friendlier to disenfranchised women than previous courts were to disenfranchised blacks.  Evidence of this can be found in Scalia's recent response to complaints about the controversial 5-4 Supreme Court decision handing Bush the election in 2000.  His message to the disenfranchised voters was crystal clear:  "Get over it."  Will you be able to do that?  Will your daughter?  Will your granddaughter?  

Tags: abortion, choice, John McCain, mything the point, Roe v. Wade, Supreme Court (all tags)

Comments

6 Comments

Behind the statistics are real people

Here is a comment I received to a previous posting on this topic:

Back when I was a girl...pre R v. W..I knew a young girl my age, we were out on the railroad picking berries...now I do not know why, but berries always grow well there. She had been very upset and crying...she was pregnant. Her name was Maria and she was 16.

We heard a train coming...a train going past can suck you into it...I jumped down the embankment and looked around for Maria...she was there kneeling on the track. She was 16 years old and in a time when "good" girls did not find themselves in the situation she was in. I could not get to her in time.

We can not allow our daughters to go back to those times, never again. No more headlines about a woman found in a pool of blood from a butcher with dirty hands and tools...no more women unable to have children because of botched abortions. This is important...it is really pro life to fight for choice.

by background n015e 2008-06-05 10:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Behind the statistics are real people

I am dying to know who wrote that comment. The extra detail about the berries makes me want to put my money on linfar.

by Mobar 2008-06-05 10:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Behind the statistics are real people

terra gazelle over at Dailykos wrote it

by background n015e 2008-06-05 11:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Red State, Slave State:

There are so many reasons we can't afford a McCain Presidency.

The idea of Roe being overturned, continuing war, continuing torture.

I don't have the virtual ink to even make a list.  

Thank you for this reminder.  The graphic is harsh, telling and, most importantly, true.

by mijita 2008-06-05 10:26AM | 0 recs
Abortion

I grew up in a world of Roe v. Wade.  At 16, my best friend, daughter of a pious Catholic family, got pregnant.  To my surprise, I was the only person (me the agnostic daughter of a bleeding heart liberal) who didn't urge her, nay try to force her to get an abortion.  I told her that whatever she decided would be the right thing.  She actually had to run away from home for a couple of weeks to keep her parents from taking her to the clinic.

I was also the person who took her to get birth control when I found out she was sexually active.  I had to agree to get an examination myself even though I was still a virgin so that she would agree to go.

My point is that even the most pious, the ones that are so sure that their children are heeding their words can find themselves in a situation where abortion looks like a good option.  Therefore, I say "Judge not, lest ye lay stumbling blocks in front of your fellows and ye in turn be judged."

by Sychotic1 2008-06-05 11:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Red State, Slave State:McCain echoes Bush on R

ANYONE who even thinks of voting republican is simply not a human being.

by scytherius 2008-06-07 12:42PM | 0 recs

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