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A matter of life

"A matter of life" Continued...

Issue: "Left behind," June 28, 2008

Late last year, McCain told WORLD that he believes life begins at conception, but "the Bible also tells us to heal the sick," and he remains firmly committed to funding the research. O'Steen said NRTL disagrees with McCain on the embryonic stem cell issue, but that his overall voting record remained strong enough for McCain to win its support.

One other bump McCain might face: In 2000 the senator strongly argued for a change to the pro-life GOP platform, which calls for a human life amendment to the Constitution. McCain said it should include exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother.

Republicans have resisted the change, and McCain hasn't indicated he'll push for it this year. But the issue could put the candidate in an awkward position this summer.

If the candidates' voting records reveal what they might do as president, so do their public statements. McCain says Roe v. Wade should be overturned, and has indicated he would nominate judges sympathetic to that view.

Obama has made abortion-related promises as well: In addition to supporting the Freedom of Choice Act, the senator opposes any constitutional amendment to ban abortion. He says he would defend Roe v. Wade and nominate justices who would do the same. He would also promote federal funding for sex education for teens, as well as funds for a public information campaign about "emergency contraception."

It's unclear how much Obama's abortion views will surface during the campaign, but it's clear that he doesn't plan to change those views: "On this issue," he told the Planned Parenthood gathering, " I will not yield."

On the record

Comparing candidates' life-related votes

1. Codify state health care option for unborn children.

Amendment to codify states' option to cover unborn children in SCHIP program, and define an unborn child as any phase of development in the womb

McCain: Yes; Obama: No

2. Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007

Mandated federal funding for embryonic stem cell research

McCain: Yes; Obama: Yes

3. Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act

Bill requiring abortionists to notify at least one parent before performing an abortion on a minor from another state

McCain: Yes; Obama: No

4. Funding for overseas pro-abortion groups

Amendment to nullify federal policy prohibiting federal funds for overseas groups that perform or promote abortions

McCain: No; Obama: Yes

5. Partial-birth abortion ban

Bill to ban partial-birth abortions, in which a baby is partially delivered before killed

McCain: Yes; Obama: * Not yet in U.S. Senate

Jamie Dean
Jamie Dean

Jamie lives and works in North Carolina, where she covers the national political beat and other topics as news editor for WORLD. Follow Jamie on Twitter @deanworldmag.

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