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John Ashcroft on Abortion


Opposes Roe v Wade, but accepts it as settled law

I believe Roe v. Wade as an original matter was wrongly decided. I am personally opposed to abortion. But I well understand that the role of attorney general is to enforce the law as it is, not as I would have it. I accept Roe and Casey as the settled law of the land. If confirmed as attorney general, I will follow the law in this area and in all other areas. The Supreme Court’s decisions on this have been multiple, they have been recent and they have been emphatic.

I have been entrusted with public service for more than 25 years. It’s a responsibility I have honored and a trust that I believe I have kept. During those years I have not thought of myself as a public servant of some of the people, but a keeper of the public trust for all the people. If I become US attorney general, I again commit to enforcing the law, all of the law for all of the people. As a man of faith I take my word and my integrity seriously. So when I swear to uphold the law I will keep my oath, so help me God.

Source: Senate confirmation hearing Jan 17, 2001

Restricting abortion has been a hallmark of his career

John Ashcroft has struggled to balance his public life against his private faith-the need, as he once wrote, “to invite God’s presence into whatever I’m doing, including politics.” If Ashcroft is confirmed as attorney general, nowhere will that balancing act be more critical than in the debate over abortion.

The son of a Pentecostal minister and a champion of the religious right, Ashcroft believes that abortion is wrong in nearly all cases. Indeed, his dozens of votes and proclamations seeking to severely restrict abortion-first as attorney general and governor of Missouri, then as a U.S. senator-have been a hallmark of his career, his record shows.

Ashcroft makes no excuses for his passionate views on abortion, decrying the politics of moderation. “I don’t apologize for being unyielding when I speak on behalf of a balanced budget or in opposition to big government or in favor of protecting the lives of unborn children,” he wrote in his 1999 autobiography.

Source: Eric Lichtblau, Los Angeles Times Jan 10, 2001

Would enforce laws against abortion clinic attacks

Despite his religious beliefs, Ashcroft and his supporters say that his mission as attorney general will be to enforce the law--whether that means prosecuting someone who attacks an abortion clinic or assessing an appeal of a reproductive-rights case. Ashcroft has already convinced some skeptics.
Source: Eric Lichtblau, Los Angeles Times Jan 10, 2001

Life begins at conception

Source: Eric Lichtblau, Los Angeles Times Jan 10, 2001

Supports “human rights amendment” against abortion

The abortion issue often appears to influence Ashcroft’s thinking. Asked in 1998 about a proposal for an international criminal court, he branded it an “outrage”--in part because he said such a court could make banning abortions a crime. “For heaven’s sake, that could make withholding of an abortion a crime against humanity, when many Americans believe that providing an abortion is a crime against humanity,” he said.

His critics depict Ashcroft as an extremist. The liberal People for the American Way group has attacked Ashcroft for supporting a ban on abortions even in cases of rape or incest. The group said that his call to pass a constitutional “human rights amendment”--defining human life as beginning at the point of “fertilization”-- could outlaw common forms of contraception, such as the pill and IUDs. He also has opposed requiring federal health insurance plans to cover prescription contraceptives.

Source: Eric Lichtblau, Los Angeles Times Jan 10, 2001

Opposes all abortion, even for rape and incest

Ashcroft opposes all abortion, and abortion-rights advocates fear that could lead to lax enforcement of laws assuring women access to clinics without close-range interference by anti-abortion protesters.

As senator, he tried to get the Constitution amended to outlaw abortion, even in cases of rape and incest.

Source: ABCnews.com, “An Ashcroft Justice Department” Dec 23, 2000

Voted YES on maintaining ban on Military Base Abortions.

Vote on a motion to table [kill] an amendment that would repeal the ban on privately funded abortions at overseas military facilities.
Bill S 2549 ; vote number 2000-134 on Jun 20, 2000

Voted YES on banning partial birth abortions.

This legislation, if enacted, would ban the abortion procedure in which the physician partially delivers the fetus before completing the abortion. [A NO vote supports abortion rights].
Status: Bill Passed Y)63; N)34; NV)3
Reference: Partial Birth Abortion Ban; Bill S. 1692 ; vote number 1999-340 on Oct 21, 1999

Voted YES on disallowing overseas military abortions.

The Murray amdt would have repealed current laws prohibiting overseas U.S. military hospitals and medical facilities from performing privately funded abortions for U.S. service members and their dependents.
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)51; N)49
Reference: Motion to table Murray Amdt #397; Bill S. 1059 ; vote number 1999-148 on May 26, 1999

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