Thursday, June 12, 2008

John McCain Is Not a Moderate On Reproductive Issues

John McCain would have you believe he is a moderate. In 1999, he explained (quoted by Cliff Schecter via Joe Conason):
I'd love to see a point where [Roe v. Wade] is irrelevant, and could be repealed because abortion is no longer necessary. But certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade, which would then force x number of women to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations.
But what does his 2008 campaign website have to say on this issue?
John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned, and as president he will nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench.
I didn't go digging for this. It's the first paragraph on his "Human Dignity and Sanctity of Life" issue page.

Conason elaborates:
Perhaps he honestly cares about reducing the number of abortions. If so, he might want to encourage broad access to contraception and sex education, since he probably remembers what young people tend to do (and what he tended to do as often as possible when he was young and not so young).

On these issues McCain might, in other words, think for himself. Instead he merely parrots the ... far right, who vainly hope to prevent sex but in fact promote teenage pregnancy - and abortion as well as sexually transmitted disease - by blocking contraception and sex education. He simply doesn't care about [or doesn't understand] the toxic effect of these policies on young women. He prefers mindless posturing to thoughtful policymaking, as he demonstrated a year ago when he fumbled reporters' questions about condoms, contraception and AIDS...
Not only is McCain computer illiterate, he lacks even basic understanding of how condoms work. The New York Times was there:

Q: ... Do you think contraceptives help stop the spread of HIV?

Mr. McCain: (Long pause) You’ve stumped me.

Read the rest of the exchange if you think I've quoted him out of context to make him look dumb. The reporter goes on to ask him specifically about condoms, and McCain still has nothing.

To summarize, John McCain:

  1. Wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, period.
  2. Opposes scientifically accurate sex ed which is effective in reducing teen pregnancy and slowing the spread of disease.
Further reading: "Of condoms, Clinton, Obama and McCain", by Rahul K. Parikh, M.D. (Source for point #2 above.)

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