Congressional Pro-Lifers to McCain: 'Convince Us'

Pete Winn | Senior Staff Writer | Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Congressional Pro-Lifers to McCain: 'Convince Us'

( - Conservative pro-life leaders in Congress are taking a "show me" attitude towards Republican frontrunner Arizona Sen. John McCain.

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) said McCain is going to have to prove himself to the pro-life community.

"If he really wants to ignite the pro-life community, he can help them understand that his commitment to this is real and not just a voting record that reflects it, but something where we really know this is in his heart," Franks told Cybercast News Service. "If he does, I think we would walk through glass to help him get elected."

Franks, a three-term Republican congressman from Arizona, said he is concerned about some of the positions his Senate colleague has taken. A former pro-life activist, Franks campaigned against efforts to expand taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell research, while McCain supported it.

McCain also supports abortion in cases of rape or incest and to prevent the death of the mother. Further, in the 2000 primary debate in South Carolina broadcast on CNN, he attacked then-Texas Gov. George Bush for supporting the pro-life plank in the Republican platform because it does not include exceptions for rape and incest.

"Sen. McCain is my state's senior senator, and I've known him for over 20 years," Franks said. "I truly believe him to be a man that wants to better humanity, but I'm saddened that somehow the pro-life community and Sen. McCain have not been able to communicate as effectively as they should have in the past."

Franks thinks McCain simply fails to understand the magnitude of the abortion issue.

"His record indicates that on straight-up issues, many times he votes pro-life," Franks said. "But he has not been someone who has actively fought for legislation protecting the unborn. We need to know somewhere in our hearts that he is going to give us Supreme Court justices that will not allow the genocide that kills 4,000 children every day."

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) echoed the call for specific assurances from the Republican frontrunner that his judicial nominees would be originalists when it comes to the Constitution.

"I think the pro-life movement has to get some type of admission from him publicly about the type of justices he's going to appoint," Westmoreland told Cybercast News Service. "I think his record in the Senate has been pretty much pro-life, but we need that commitment on the judges. That's where the rubber meets the road."

Another major commitment they are seeking is for McCain to state that he will support the pro-life plank in the Republican National Platform, which calls for a human life amendment and extending 14th Amendment rights to the unborn.

"I don't know of anything that would be more detrimental to his cause in the general election than if he tried to remove the pro-life plank," Franks said. "I don't think Sen. McCain would remove the pro-life plank for a number of reasons. I certainly hope he doesn't."

The congressmen were part of a panel discussion on the future of the pro-life movement at last week's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), held in Washington, D.C.

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