Terry McAuliffe's brother abandoned the pro-life movement

After being arrested for pro-life protests and working for Pat Robertson's presidential campaign, “I describe myself as being very pro-life and very pro-choice,” Joseph McAuliffe now says.
Fri May 24, 2013 - 5:23 pm EST

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 24, 2013 ( – The elder brother of Terry McAuliffe, former DNC chairman and current Democratic candidate or Virginia governor, spent 20 years as a pro-life activist, even getting arrested in the late 1980s for protesting an abortion clinic.

But when Terry rose to the top of the Democratic Party as an adviser to President Bill Clinton, Joseph McAuliffe abandoned the pro-life movement and fell in line with his little brother’s politics, abandoning the pro-life cause and cutting his ties with conservative activists.

Joseph, 62, was a prominent Christian activist in Florida during the 1970s and 1980s. He said while he was “very much Left of the Democratic Party” in his younger years, both his conversion to Christianity and the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion pushed him in a more conservative direction.


Abortion “really was a bellwether issue that took people like myself,” Joseph said. “There were a number of people who were former counterculture types who were even Left of Left so to speak, but shifted to the Right.”

The elder McAuliffe worked for the 1988 presidential campaign of Christian evangelist Pat Robertson. After the campaign ended, he worked for Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) and helped the evangelist set up a Christian political action committee, United Christians of Florida.

Meanwhile, his younger brother began climbing the ranks of the Democratic party, eventually landing at President Bill Clinton’s side as a chief adviser and fundraiser.

That’s when Joseph began to distance himself from the Republican Party. He cut his ties with Pat Robertson and joined his brother on the Clinton campaign trail.

“I was probably the only pro-life person in the room,” he told the Tampa Tribune about one 1996 Clinton fundraiser.

But despite his once firm opposition to legalized abortion, Joseph now favors abortion-on-demand.

“I describe myself as being very pro-life and very pro-choice,” Joseph said. “I’m very comfortable being a strong advocate for the unborn and at the same time being a strong advocate of women having a right to make decisions for their own bodies. I think we need to give individuals the freedom to make that choice.”

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Terry McAuliffe is facing pro-life Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli in the Virginia gubernatorial election in November.

Planned Parenthood has declared that ensuring McAuliffe’s election is one of their top priorities.

Joseph McAuliffe has said he will travel from Florida to Virginia this summer to help with his brother’s campaign.

  pat robertson, terry mcauliffe, virginia