John McCain: The Pro-Life Candidate

I believe the noblest words ever written are that all of us are created equal and endowed by our Creator by certain unalienable rights.  Among these are life; life is the life of the child waiting to be born and of the born — that’s what human rights are about.”  John McCain, August 18, 2008

I was a late comer to the pro-life movement.  I never believed that abortion was right, but I bought into the line of “we shouldn’t tell other people what to do with their bodies.” I know it seems so lame now, as I am very close to my 49th birthday.  The day I had the first sonogram of my daughter, Suzanne, was the day I realized I was wrong about abortion and was thankful I had never had to make that “choice.” The site of that bright beating heat in the middle of the grainy picture converted me in more ways than one.

John McCain has been pro-life for his entire career.  He’s dealt with the difficulties in the fringes of the movement — whether to allow exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother (he supports that), or whether to support embryonic stem cell research, which he and Nancy Reagan do. He is sure, however, that advances in medicine and skin stem cells will make the debate over embryonic stem cell research moot. He has voted at every opportunity to limit abortions, and he is more pro-life today than ever.

I sat down with John McCain on Monday in Atlanta, and we talked about a wide range of issues.

After the McCain home run at the “Saddleback Showdown” on Saturday night, McCain was at ease while expounding on his views on life.  He gave one of the strongest and most moving statements of commitment to that idea that I have ever heard by saying, “Life is the life of the child waiting to be born, and of the born…”  McCain went on to say these are human rights and are about the protection of rights not only of those born in the United States, but of those born all over the world.  

He went back to the question posed by Pastor Rick Warren about how the candidates would act to protect the 140 million orphans in the world the way the President Bush tackled the AIDS epidemic in Africa.  McCain said, “140 million orphans are waiting for adoption and parents and a whole lot are in the United States of America that want to have a man and a woman” —  and he emphasized –“One man and one woman to adopt them.”  He’s taking a strong stance on life in its most basic form — the unborn — as well as defending the traditional family as the best way to raise all children.

John McCain won this week at Saddleback, he’s winning on the campaign trail on life issues, and he’s dominating coverage at least until Obama picks his running mate later in the week.  

Here are some excerpts of other topics we talked about on Monday:

Regarding the “Gang of 10” and Energy Policy:

“We ought to have votes, and we ought to have votes on drilling offshore yes or no, and we ought to drill now and we ought to have the votes now.  Congress is on a 5-week vacation and they should come back in and vote, and the Speaker of the House should allow votes and Harry Reid should allow votes and I’ll be glad to have votes.  That’s what we should do in my view.”

Regarding his vice presidential pick:

“I really believe it’s a person who shared our values, our principles and our priorities.  It’s a tough decision.  We have men and women in our party and in the country.  We have men and women who I think are highly qualified and it’s a tough decision, and I wish I didn’t have to make it, to tell the truth, but it’s part of the requirements to get the best qualified person.”

So will it be enough? McCain clearly likes the role of underdog; he likes the battle.  He’s made great strides in just a few days in the evangelical community, but it is not solidly behind him yet.  He has to pick a pro-life running mate.  If he does not, all the good will he garnered this week will be squandered.  I know the insiders in the McCain campaign favor Sen. Lieberman, and Lieberman joined McCain at the Atlanta fundraiser that garnered $2 million for the campaign on Monday night.  I think McCain is smarter than that — and ultimately he will pick a pro-life running mate.

On a personal note, McCain was very gracious and generous with his time, and when I told him my father had been a WWII POW, we shared a story or two about him, and he thanked me for his service and asked about my mom.  Senator McCain, thank you.