Politics & Policy

Giuliani and Abortion

When Rudolph Giuliani announced his presidential run, we hoped that he could find common ground with pro-lifers. For that to happen, we suggested, he would have to follow the model of Kay Bailey Hutchison and the late Paul Coverdell, both pro-choice Republican senators who were allied with pro-lifers on the legislative issues of the day. Behind this advice was the assumption that Giuliani’s desire to win some pro-life votes would move him to think seriously about the issue, or at least its political dimension. Judging from the knots in which he has tied himself since then, that thought has not taken place. Whether through conscious decision or inattention, he has not followed the Hutchison/Coverdell model. He could have said, for example, that while he believes abortion policy should be permissive, the Supreme Court should permit states to set a different policy. But he has steadfastly refused to say that Roe was wrongly decided, let alone that it should be overturned; and he has repeatedly gone out of his way to say that the “strict constructionist” judges he favors might well vote to retain it as a precedent. Figuring out Giuliani’s current position on taxpayer funding of abortion is beyond our ability, but the upshot seems to be that he would not actively push for it at the federal level — which is far short of what pro-lifers can accept. If Giuliani wins the nomination, it will be because he has won support from pro-choice Republicans and pro-lifers who do not consider abortion a high-priority issue. But it increasingly looks as though the pro-life movement will have no choice but to oppose his nomination.

Editor’s Note: This paragraph appears in “The Week” section of the May 28, 2007, issue of National Review.

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