Anti-Abortion Advocates Shun McCain over Campaign Finance Reform

Sen. John McCain “is far and away the most consistently anti-abortion of all the top contenders” for the Republican presidential ticket, according to Charlotte Allen in The

Weekly Standard, yet many anti-abortion advocates won’t have any truck with him. “The aversion to McCain is often visceral,” wrote Fred Barnes recently in the same magazine, citing James Dobson’s promise never to support McCain. Allen reports that McCain’s far-right position on abortion has, for some anti-abortion activists, taken a back seat to his legislation on campaign finance:

McCain has a major problem with the nation’s largest and most influential anti-abortion advocacy organization, the National Right to Life Committee. And the source of that problem is . . . not abortion at all. It’s the McCain-Feingold Act, that set of restrictions on political advertising during election seasons that McCain (along with a number of Democrats) started pushing in 1995 and succeeded in enacting into federal law in 2002.

The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) regards McCain-Feingold as a major hindrance to its mission of pro-life advocacy–and, pari passu, McCain himself as something close to a personal enemy. A so-far-successful constitutional challenge to a key portion of McCain-Feingold mounted by an NRLC affiliate, Wisconsin Right to Life, is pending in the Supreme Court, with oral argument set for Wednesday, April 25.