CAMPAIGN 2000 - ASGP
Gore-Bush Comparison Reveals Nearly Identical Views
Monday, October 25, 2000
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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gore supporters who have urged Ralph Nader to drop out of the race out of fear of a Republican victory can no longer use the threat of rollback of abortion rights under George W. Bush.
In a response to a presidential candidate's questionnaire from the U.S. Catholic Conference, dated October 19, 2000 (http://www.nccbuscc.org/ogl/questionnaire.htm), Al Gore affirms his general support for abortion rights, but he would allow legal restrictions on late-term abortions. He even uses the term "partial-birth abortion," a phrase favored by Republicans and anti-choice advocates: "Al Gore opposes late-term abortions and the procedure of partial-birth abortions.... Al Gore believes that any law prohibiting the partial-birth abortion procedure must be narrowly tailored, and should include protections for the life and health of the mother."
Mr. Gore's answer suggests that late-term abortion will come under threat regardless of whether he or Gov. George W. Bush wins the White House. The position of the Green Party and Ralph Nader is that the decision to have an abortion should always remain between a woman and her physician, without legal interference.
In Republican candidate Gov. Bush's answer to the same question, he says "I will provide leadership to take positive, practical steps to reduce the number of abortions in America: ending partial-birth abortion, streamlining adoption, helping women in crisis through maternity group homes, promoting abstinence, and passing laws requiring parental notification and waiting periods. I believe the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision upholding the brutal practice of partial-birth abortion was wrong, and as President I will fight for and sign a ban on partial-birth abortions that passes constitutional muster."
There's little substantive difference between what Mr. Gore and Gov. Bush promise, in terms of White House policy, although Bush is more specific in the measures he'd undertake to discourage abortion. Mr. Gore, following Clinton Administration policy, agrees with Bush about promotion of abstinence. Republicans know that outlawing all abortion would be political suicide, so they've targeted late term abortion. In office, Gov. Bush would probably also support exceptions for "protections for the life and health of the mother."
Mr. Gore supporters, accusing Nader and the Green Party of attempting to "spoil" the election, have argued that abortion and other human rights show the need to vote Democrat on November 7. In retreating on abortion rights, Mr. Gore evokes his early career in Congress, when he supported the Hyde Amendment's restrictions on access to abortion for poor women. Mr. Gore, as Senator from Tennessee, voted to confirm the confirmation of rightwing Justice Antonin Scalia to the Supreme Court. President Clinton and Vice President Gore did nothing in eight years to promote abortion drug RU-486 and push its passage through the FDA until two months before the 2000 election.
Comparable retreats by Al Gore on other issues Mr. Gore's gradual slide on abortion rights is comparable to his "step by step" position on universal health care. From 1948 until the Clinton-Gore Administration, the Democratic Party promised national health insurance, a pledge the Clinton \-Gore ticket canceled in 1996. Mr. Gore's 2000 program offers what he calls "steps" towards universal health care, such as a prescription medicine plan for older Americans (which leaves them with coverage inferior to what Americans under 65 enjoy if they have private insurance). But Mr. Gore confirmed during the debates that he opposes government administration of health coverage, i.e., the kind of national health insurance plan Mr. Nader and the Greens support.
In his 2000 campaign, Mr. Gore has refused to address the crisis of 44 million Americans frozen out of our failed private-profit-driven HMO and insurance system. As in the public debate on abortion, he aims for an ill-defined "center," regardless of the needs of women, patients, and seniors.
Ralph Nader and the Green Party have
insisted that the positions of George W. Bush and Al Gore are the same or
nearly the same on most important issues. These include support for
free trade pacts with the authority to overrule human, labor, and
environmental protections; inaction on fuel emission standards; rescission
of the Delaney Clause prohibiting pesticides and other carcinogens in
food; toxic waste siting and dioxin production; increased military
spending; development of President Reagan's fraudulent space-based missile
defense scheme; continuation of sanctions which have killed over a million
Iraqi civilians; maintenance of profit-based corporate HMO and insurance
coverage and opposition to national health insurance; the death penalty;
privatization of the prison system; rollback of New Deal and Great Society
social safety net guarantees; the military-based war on drugs; opposition
to medical marijuana; preserving Taft-Hartley restrictions on union
organizing; opposition to the living wage; support for the Defense of
Marriage Act; maintaining subsidies, tax-breaks, bail-outs, and other
taxpayer free lunch for corporations; and acceptance of corporate
soft-money contributions throughout the 2000 campaign.