Thursday, March 12, 2009

RNC Chairman Michael Steele Calls Abortion "An Individual Choice"

In an interview with the Washington Times prior to his appointment as chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele stated his support for the party's opposition to abortion:

"In an editorial board meeting at The Washington Times on Tuesday, Mr. Steele clarified his stance, saying that he thinks Roe should be overturned as a sloppy piece of decision-making, favors state regulation on abortion, and supports the Republican party's platform that calls for a constitutional ban on abortion."

In his recent interview with GQ's Lisa DePaulo, however, Steele contradicted his supposed support for the ban:

DePaulo: Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?
Steele: Yeah. I mean, again, I think that’s an individual choice.
DePaulo: You do?
Steele: Yeah. Absolutely.
DePaulo: Are you saying you don’t want to overturn Roe v. Wade?
Steele: I think Roe v. Wade—as a legal matter, Roe v. Wade was a wrongly decided matter.
DePaulo: Okay, but if you overturn Roe v. Wade, how do women have the choice you just said they should have?
Steele: The states should make that choice. That’s what the choice is. The individual choice rests in the states. Let them decide.

As if stating that abortion is an "individual choice" isn't startling enough, here's Steele on gays:

DePaulo: Do you think homosexuality is a choice?
Steele: Oh, no. I don’t think I’ve ever really subscribed to that view, that you can turn it on and off like a water tap. Um, you know, I think that there’s a whole lot that goes into the makeup of an individual that, uh, you just can’t simply say, oh, like, “Tomorrow morning I’m gonna stop being gay.” It’s like saying, “Tomorrow morning I’m gonna stop being black.”
DePaulo: So your feeling would be that people are born one way or another.
Steele: I mean, I think that’s the prevailing view at this point, and I know that there’s some out there who think that you can absolutely make that choice. And maybe some people have. I don’t know, I can’t say. Until we can give a definitive answer one way or the other, I think we should respect that.

So women have the right to choose and being gay is an innate sexual orientation that should be respected. I must say that I am complete agreement with the chairman of the Republican National Committee on both issues. But this interview isn't helping Steele retain his already shaky position within his party. Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, said that Steele's comments could cause the Republicans "to lose many of its members and a great deal of its support in the trenches of grass roots politics."

Huckabee must be referring to the morality police that populates the Republican base. The GOP, after all, insists on intruding on such private decisions as whether a woman can have an abortion and whether a gay couple can sanctify their relationship through marriage. So much for the professed belief in "small government."

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