mccain6.jpgWhy isn’t John McCain defending himself more forcefully against Christian Right critics by pointing to his decades’ worth of votes against any kind of abortion rights? God-o-Meter can’t figure it out, but other pro-life advocates have begun making the argument for him. From today’s Washington Times:

Pro-lifers are the first part of the conservative base to rally around Sen. John McCain, overcoming past fights to embrace him as strong on their core issue and a clear choice over the two Democrats he could face.
“He is pro-life in his heart of hearts, in my opinion,” said Rep. Christopher H. Smith, New Jersey Republican and a pro-life movement leader, who said Mr. McCain’s commitment stretches back across decades of votes in the House and Senate.
Though the Arizona senator and all-but-certain Republican presidential nominee doesn’t detail his voting record on the campaign trail, an examination reveals a striking opposition to abortion in most of the major fights such as partial-birth abortion down to the smallest of skirmishes, even when he was in a distinct minority.
Those votes include joining just 20 other senators in voting to delete family-planning grants from a spending bill in 1988 and joining 18 others in voting against spending Medicaid funds on abortions in cases of rape and incest. In the 1990s, he voted against the bill creating federal penalties for blocking access to abortion clinics and voted against allowing federal-government health insurance plans to cover abortions.
In recent years, his pro-life rating has slipped, in part due to his championing of campaign-finance reform, which angered pro-life groups who said it cut off their ability to campaign, and in part because of his support for federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research.
But even groups that fought bitterly with him over those issues are now rallying around him.
“When you contrast him with the alternative and you think about such things as Supreme Court appointments, McCain is a far better choice,” said Barbara L. Lyons, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life, an organization that took Mr. McCain all the way to the Supreme Court over his campaign-finance laws, and won.


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