Candidates spar over abortion rights
DALLAS – Barack Obama and John McCain got a chance during their third presidential debate on Wednesday night to directly address their respective bases when they were asked about abortion.
Moderator Bob Schieffer, who noted that Democrat Obama supports the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court Roe vs Wade decision that grants women a constitutional right to an abortion, while the Republican McCain opposes it, asked: “Could either of you ever nominate someone to the Supreme Court who disagrees with you on this issue?”
Both candidates said they would not apply “litmus tests” if they were to select justices for the top U.S. court, whose nine members are currently almost evenly divided between conservatives and liberals.
“I would consider anyone in their qualifications. I do not believe that someone who has supported Roe v. Wade that would be part of those qualifications. But I certainly would not impose any litmus test,” McCain said.
Obama said: “I am somebody who believes that Roe versus Wade was rightly decided … what ultimately I believe is that women in consultation with their families, their doctors, their religious advisers, are in the best position to make this decision.”
Abortion is one of the most emotive and partisan issues in America. Most Democrats support abortion rights; the Republican Party is opposed to abortion rights and its conservative Christian wing is especially vocal and activist in this regard.
It is an issue that can engergize the bases of both parties, but amid worsening economic news and a plunging stock market, neither candidate has been paying it much attention.
Photo credit: Reuters/Gary Hershorn