McCAIN ON ABORTION….One of the inexplicable side effects of John McCain’s maverick reputation is the number of people who believe — or, perhaps, desperately want to believe — that he’s basically pretty moderate on abortion rights. Columnist Froma Harrop is one of them, but Steve Benen sets the record straight:

First, Harrop is willing to gamble, but pro-choice Democrats have to know better….[Harrop] concludes that McCain’s voting record of complete and total opposition to reproductive rights for nearly a quarter century is insincere, and once in the White House, he’ll suddenly transform into a moderate. This is sheer fantasy.

Second, McCain is going to great lengths to prove how completely wrong Harrop really is. Indeed, McCain is telling anyone who will listen that he’d be even further to the right than Bush on this issue, subtly criticizing Griswold, and by extension, the very notion of a right to privacy.

….And third, it’s utterly foolish to narrowly focus the inquiry to the Supreme Court. McCain is practically desperate to stack the court with more far-right justices — his active support for Bork wasn’t an accident — but if we take a more general look at McCain and women’s issues, we see that McCain will maintain the global gag order, supports the court’s ruling on Ledbetter, has expressed no interest in civil rights protections for women, and has voted against everything from requiring health care plans to cover birth control to international family planning funding to public education for emergency contraception.

McCain tends to use soothing, nonconfrontational language when he talks about social issues, but his actual record on abortion is about as hardline conservative as you can get. A lot of moderates who like McCain seem to be averting their gaze from this and trying to persuade themselves that it’s all just politics and the real McCain is a lot like them: not a big fan of abortion, maybe, but not really extreme about it either. Unfortunately, it ain’t so. If McCain gets into office, his record is pretty clear: he’ll do everything he can to reduce or eliminate access to abortion, starting with poor women and working his way up. Read Steve’s whole post for more.

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