Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Quote of the Day: Guiliani on abortion

Rudy Guiliani, in this interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, comes across as someone who wants to be perceived as a conservative but really holds a fairly liberal position on the issue of abortion.

Hewitt asks Guiliani about how his Catholic faith has affected his life ("It’s been a very, very important part of my life"); turns the tables to ask if the pro-choice Guiliani can keep the Catholic majority enjoyed by President Bush against the Catholic John Kerry ("I hope that people look at the overall record . . . and realize that there’s not ever going to be agreement 100% with anybody that’s running for president"); and finally asks Guiliani to describe his position on abortion.

RG: My position is that I hate it, I don’t like it, I would advise anyone on a personal basis that they’d be better off using the option of adoption if…but ultimately, it’s an individual’s choice that I don’t see dealing with by trying to put somebody in jail over it.

HH: Would you like to see Roe V. Wade reversed, Mayor?

RG: I would [hesitates, not indicating agreement]…what I’d like to see are abortions reduced, and adoptions increased. And I reduced…abortions declined about 15, 16% while I was Mayor, I think more than the national average. But most importantly, adoptions went up over 60%.

HH: But would it be a good day or a bad day for America if Roe V. Wade was reversed by the Roberts’ Court?

RG: Oh, I think that’s something the Court has to decide.

HH: All right.

RG: And I think that I would appoint strict constructionists as judges, I would not have a litmus test, there’d be a general test, a philosophical test, and that is are you going to interpret the Constitution as best you can based on what it means, not what you’d like it to mean? I can see conservative, strict constructionist judges coming to the conclusion that it should be overturned, or I could see some of them coming to the conclusion that it’s been the law for a substantial period of time, it is precedent, and applying stare decisis. So it’s not a litmus test.

He absolutely refused to respond to the question on Roe v. Wade, instead taking a very Clinton-esque approach by emphasizing the abortion rate during his time as mayor of New York City. And even his defense of the abortion rate in NYC was interesting, in that he started to take credit for the reduction, but then changed his statement to note simply that it dropped while he was mayor.

His invocation of a classic liberal canard -- "it’s an individual’s choice that I don’t see dealing with by trying to put somebody in jail over it" -- makes me suspect that he hasn't given the pro-life position much thought. It implies that the overturning of Roe v. Wade would result in the jailing of women undergoing illegal abortions, but no serious pro-life advocate would advocate such a penalty.

And then, seeming to know he's dug himself a hole, he tries to throw a bone to pro-lifers by using the "strict constructionist judges" language of conservatives. But even then he refuses to be pinned down, saying that a real conservative judge could rule either way on Roe.

Can you feel Rudy Guiliani twist and turn?

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