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Steele Bends Under Far-Right Pressure: ‘I Am Pro-Life, Always Have Been, Always Will Be’

By Amanda Terkel on March 12, 2009 at 9:41 am

"Steele Bends Under Far-Right Pressure: ‘I Am Pro-Life, Always Have Been, Always Will Be’"

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340x4.jpg Yesterday, GQ published an interview with Michael Steele in which the RNC chairman said that he is pro-choice:

GQ: Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?

STEELE: Yeah. I mean, again, I think that’s an individual choice.

As ThinkProgress noted, these comments contradicted the pro-life image he has tried to cultivate for himself in order to win the support of far-right conservatives, who were incensed at his new pro-choice stance. Charmaine Yoest, the president and CEO of Americans United for Life Action, said it was “language straight out of Planned Parenthood’s messaging playbook.” Anti-choice activist Jill Stanek said, “You thought he was ‘embattled’ last week over his Limbaugh comment? Ha. He has now stepped both feet into it.”

Today, at 7:49 a.m. — less than 24 hours after the GQ story became public — Steele issued a new statement, completely backing down from his comments. Not only does he say now that abortion isn’t an individual or state choice, he says that he supports a constitutional ban on abortion:

I am pro-life, always have been, always will be. I tried to present why I am pro life while recognizing that my mother had a ‘choice’ before deciding to put me up for adoption. I thank her every day for supporting life. The strength of the pro life movement lies in choosing life and sharing the wisdom of that choice with those who face difficult circumstances. They did that for my mother and I am here today because they did. In my view Roe vs. Wade was wrongly decided and should be repealed.

I realize that there are good people in our party who disagree with me on this issue. But the Republican Party is and will continue to be the party of life. I support our platform and its call for a Human Life Amendment. It is important that we stand up for the defenseless and that we continue to work to change the hearts and minds of our fellow countrymen so that we can welcome all children and protect them under the law.

In the past, Steele has been more circumspect about overturning Roe v. Wade. In 2006, when asked whether it was his “desire” that the Supreme Court decision be kept “in place” at this point, Steele replied, “My desire is that we follow what stare decisis is at this point, yes.”

Steele himself said it best in February: “You have absolutely no reason, none, to trust our word or our actions at this point.”

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