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IN THEIR OWN WORDS: John McCain’s speech to National Right to Life

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of a special series of stories that Baptist Press will run between now and Nov. 4. Stories will run on Wednesdays and Fridays.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–This is the seventh in a series of stories focusing on one specific national issue and detailing where the two major presidential candidates stand. Called “In Their Own Words,” the stories avoid commentary and instead present the candidates’ views as they have stated them in the past — either in interviews, speeches, debates or on their campaign websites.

Today, BP is printing the transcript of John McCain’s speech, via video, to the National Right to Life Convention July 3. An accompanying story in Baptist Press includes Barack Obama’s 2007 speech to Planned Parenthood.

Following is McCain’s speech:

“Thank you for inviting me to address the 2008 National Right to Life Convention. I’m sorry I’m not able to be there in person to address you. More than 200 years ago, our nation’s founders declared that we are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It was no accident that they cited life as the first and most basic right, for without recognition of the right to life, we are not guaranteed any other rights. Sometimes all wisdom asks of us is that we recognize common sense. But sometimes wisdom, as to all other virtues, requires courage.

“Wisdom suggests that we should be willing to give an unborn child the same chance that our parents gave us. But it takes courage in this political climate to insist on the protection of unborn children, who can’t vote, have no voice, and can’t reward you with support and donations. Wisdom suggests that when federal judges impose their social views on the citizens of every state, the result is going to distort our politics in harmful ways. But it takes courage to insist that the courts have to return to their proper role.

“I will look for accomplished men and women with a proven record of excellence in the law and a proven commitment to strictly interpreting the Constitution of the United States. I will look for people in the cast of John Roberts, Sam Alito, my friend the late William Rehnquist — jurists of the highest caliber who know their own minds, and know the law, and know the difference.

“I have been pro-life my entire public career. I am pro-life because I know what it is like to live without human rights, where human life is accorded no inherent value. And I know that I have a personal obligation to advocate human rights wherever they are denied — in Bosnia or Burma, in Cuba or the Middle East, and in our own country, when we fail to respect the inherent dignity of all human life, born or unborn. That is a personal testament which you need not take on faith. You need only to examine my public record to know that I won’t change my position. I’ve been proud to serve our great country in the military and in Congress.

“Throughout these years I have always believed that the most important duty of our national leaders is to protect human life. We protect human life from violent extremists who would destroy it to produce a cruel ideology. We protect the lives of the most vulnerable, whether they are the unborn, the elderly or the disabled. It is a privilege to defend Americans in war and in peace.

“I’m proud to stand with you in defending the sanctity of human life and in supporting mothers and children under the most challenging of circumstances.

“I’m proud of my wife Cindy, who brought our daughter Bridget home from Mother Teresa’s orphanage in Bangladesh, and blessed our family with the gift of this blessed child of God. I am as thankful for her as I am for all of my children and am glad that we were able to give her a home and a better life.

“My friends we confront a difficult question when we address the issue of abortion. The American people are compassionate people, who cherish life and liberty. They love life, and they have an instinctive compassion for those who confront difficult circumstances. We believe that the best way to respond to such situations is to demonstrate our love and support for the mothers and children who are at the center of such challenges. The pro-life movement has done this for decades by participating in and supporting thousands of pregnancy care centers that help women and their children meet these challenges.

“In November, the American people will choose a new president to lead our country during very challenging times. I will proudly defend my record of protecting human life during key debates on domestic and international policy. I am proud to have supported a ban on partial-birth abortion and legislation that would protect children who survived an abortion procedure.

“On the very first day, after the Supreme Court upheld the ban on the hideous practice of partial-birth abortion, a bill was introduced in Congress to codify this practice in every one in the United States of America. The same legislation would strike down the Hyde amendment, named after our great friend and champion of human life — the incomparable Henry Hyde — and would also strike down every other federal and state limitation on abortion funding. This legislation, with has been co-sponsored by my opponent, would also strike down every parental notification law enacted anywhere in our country.

“The American people have come together to say that partial-birth abortion offends our national conscience, that taxpayers should not be forced to pay for elective abortions, and that states should be allowed to enact parental notification laws. And those who oppose these protections of human life, unable to prevail in legislatures, hope to appoint to the federal courts jurists who would reject this political consensus, and impose on us abortion policies that offend the conscience of man, many Americans.

“My friends, I want to thank you again, for your commitment to a cause that is greater than us all — protecting human life, and helping women and children, wherever they need our support.

“May God bless America, and your unselfish efforts, on behalf of all His children.”
Michael Foust is an assistant editor of Baptist Press.

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  • Michael Foust