Commentary by John-Henry Westen

  WASHINGTON, DC, February 19, 2007 ( – Normally the news of a prominent politician switching from support for abortion to deciding in favour of the right to life is great news. However, when this occurs in a Republican presidential candidate with a track record of flip flopping on life and family issues suspicions are rightfully aroused.

  Speaking in South Carolina this weekend, Senator John McCain said that he opposed the Roe v Wade decision which allowed abortion in the United States.  “I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned,” the Arizona senator stated, reports MSNBC.

  Speaking on Roe v Wade in 2000, McCain told the San Francisco Chronicle, “I’d love to see a point where it is irrelevant, and could be repealed because abortion is no longer necessary. But certainly in the short term, or even the long term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations.”

  It seems that McCain’s flip flops come fast and furious, and are best predicted by whatever way the political wind is blowing at the time.  A startling example happened last October when McCain appeared on CNN’s Hardball with Chris Matthews.

  To Matthews’ query, “Should gay marriage be allowed?,” McCain replied, “I think that gay marriage should be allowed, if there’s a ceremony kind of thing, if you want to call it that.  I don’t have any problem with that, but I do believe in preserving the sanctity of a union between man and woman.”

  Significantly, later in the program, after a commercial break during which McCain received some advice from his public relations man John Weaver, McCain revisited the topic as an interjection.  “Could I just mention one other thing?,” he added after replying briefly to a question on farming.  “On the issue of the gay marriage, I believe that people want to have private ceremonies, that’s fine. I do not believe that gay marriages should be legal.”

  Boos resounded from the audience, and if Vanity Fair’s reporter who was on hand is to be believed, McCain was most displeased with the advice he received from Weaver.

  McCain’s voting record on life issues is also checkered.  Last summer he voted in favour of public funding for embryonic stem cell research.