Is Michael Steele pro-life? I fear the answer might be no.
I’ve long liked and respected Lt. Gov. Michael Steele and considered him a great candidate to Chair the RNC. I’ve seen many pro-life bloggers even endorse him but yesterday a commenter named Darcy pointed me to Steele’s appearance on Meet The Press on October 29, 2006. The transcript is here.
According to his own statements, Steele is against overturning Roe V. Wade. He is also against a Constitutional Amendment banning abortion. He also rather disingenuously calls abortion an issue that should be handled by the states even though the states can’t really restrict abortion in any meaningful way until Roe is overturned.
And for many in the pro-life movement, Steele’s comments could disqualify him from receiving their support. Here’s the disturbing transcript:
MR. RUSSERT: …Mr. Steele, if you’re United States Senator, would you vote for a constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion?
LT. GOV. STEELE: I don’t — vote for a constitutional amendment to outlaw abortion? I think we’d have to have that get to the Supreme Court, wouldn’t we? I haven’t seen that bill proposed. I don’t think…
MR. RUSSERT: That’s been introduced in the Senate.
LT. GOV. STEELE: I don’t think anyone’s going to propose that this day.
MR. RUSSERT: So you wouldn’t do that?
LT. GOV. STEELE: No.
MR. RUSSERT: Would, would you encourage — would you hope the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade?
LT. GOV. STEELE: I think that that’s a matter that’s going to rightly belong to the courts to decide ultimately whether or not that, that issue should be addressed. The, the Court has taken a position, which I agree, stare decisis, which means that the law is as it is and, and so this is a matter that’s ultimately going to be adjudicated at the states. We’re seeing that. The states are beginning to decide for themselves on, on this and a host of other issues. And the Supreme Court would ultimately decide that.
MR. RUSSERT: But you hope that the Court keeps Roe v. Wade in place?
LT. GOV. STEELE: I think the Court will evaluate the law as society progresses, as the Court is supposed to do.
MR. RUSSERT: But what’s your position? Do you want them to sustain it or overturn it?
LT. GOV. STEELE: Well, I think, I think, I think Roe vs. Wade, Roe vs. Wade is a, is a matter that should’ve been left to the states to decide, ultimately. But it, it is where it is today, and the courts will ultimately decide whether or not this, this gets addressed by the states, goes back to the states in some form or they overturn it outright.
MR. RUSSERT: Is is your desire to keep it in place?
LT. GOV. STEELE: My desire is that we follow what stare decisis is at this point, yes.
I am very very sorry to read this. If Steele is unwilling to stand up for the unborn because he feared it might damage his campaign I doubt he’ll stand up for the unborn when he steers an entire party. For me, fiscal conservatism is not enough.
Fiscal conservatives speak all the time about shuttling the rabid pro-lifers away. Electing Michael Steele as head of the RNC might be one giant step in that direction.
Now, I’d like some clarification because in the same debate Steele said some things diametrically opposed to his comments on Roe. He said:
I do support stem cell research. Where I have drawn the line is federal funding for research that destroys the embryo. And, and I’ve been very much an advocate and supporter of advancing research that will allow us to do the – do what we need to do without destroying that, that embryo.
Russert: Why are you opposed to using embryonic stem cells? Taking of a life?
Steele: Yes, I see that as a life, and I don’t think that we should use federal funds to do that.
I would very much like to hear how Steele explains these two very different takes on this most important issue to many in the Republican Party.