Issue Position: Human Dignity and the Sanctity of Life
Overturning Roe v. Wade
John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned, and as president he will nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench.
Constitutional balance would be restored by the reversal of Roe v. Wade, returning the abortion question to the individual states. The difficult issue of abortion should not be decided by judicial fiat.
However, the reversal of Roe v. Wade represents only one step in the long path toward ending abortion. Once the question is returned to the states, the fight for life will be one of courage and compassion - the courage of a pregnant mother to bring her child into the world and the compassion of civil society to meet her needs and those of her newborn baby. The pro-life movement has done tremendous work in building and reinforcing the infrastructure of civil society by strengthening faith-based, community, and neighborhood organizations that provide critical services to pregnant mothers in need. This work must continue and government must find new ways to empower and strengthen these armies of compassion. These important groups can help build the consensus necessary to end abortion at the state level. As John McCain has publicly noted, "At its core, abortion is a human tragedy. To effect meaningful change, we must engage the debate at a human level."
In 1993, John McCain and his wife, Cindy, adopted a little girl from Mother Teresa's orphanage in Bangladesh. She has been a blessing to the McCain family and helped make adoption advocacy a personal issue for the Senator.
The McCain family experience is not unique; millions of families have had their lives transformed by the adoption of a child. As president, motivated by his personal experience, John McCain will seek ways to promote adoption as a first option for women struggling with a crisis pregnancy. In the past, he cosponsored legislation to prohibit discrimination against families with adopted children, to provide adoption education, and to permit tax deductions for qualified adoption expenses, as well as to remove barriers to interracial and inter-ethnic adoptions.
As president, John McCain would nominate judges who understand that the role of the Court is not to subvert the rights of the people by legislating from the bench. Critical to Constitutional balance is ensuring that, where state and local governments do act to preserve the traditional family, the Courts must not overstep their authority and thwart the Constitutional right of the people to decide this question.
The family represents the foundation of Western Civilization and civil society and John McCain believes the institution of marriage is a union between one man and one woman. It is only this definition that sufficiently recognizes the vital and unique role played by mothers and fathers in the raising of children, and the role of the family in shaping, stabilizing, and strengthening communities and our nation.
As with most issues vital to the preservation and health of civil society, the basic responsibility for preserving and strengthening the family should reside at the level of government closest to the people. In their wisdom, the Founding Fathers reserved for the States the authority and responsibility to protect and strengthen the vital institutions of our civil society. They did so to ensure that the voices of America's families could not be ignored by an indifferent national government or suffocated through filibusters and clever legislative maneuvering in Congress.
Addressing the Moral Concerns of Advanced Technology
Stem cell research offers tremendous hope for those suffering from a variety of deadly diseases - hope for both cures and life-extending treatments. However, the compassion to relieve suffering and to cure deadly disease cannot erode moral and ethical principles.
For this reason, John McCain opposes the intentional creation of human embryos for research purposes. To that end, Senator McCain voted to ban the practice of "fetal farming," making it a federal crime for researchers to use cells or fetal tissue from an embryo created for research purposes. Furthermore, he voted to ban attempts to use or obtain human cells gestated in animals. Finally, John McCain strongly opposes human cloning and voted to ban the practice, and any related experimentation, under federal law.
As president, John McCain will strongly support funding for promising research programs, including amniotic fluid and adult stem cell research and other types of scientific study that do not involve the use of human embryos.
Where federal funds are used for stem cell research, Senator McCain believes clear lines should be drawn that reflect a refusal to sacrifice moral values and ethical principles for the sake of scientific progress, and that any such research should be subject to strict federal guidelines.
Protecting Children from Internet Pornography
John McCain believes the Internet offers tremendous promise in terms of freedom of expression, information sharing, and the spread of knowledge and commerce. It represents the greatest innovation of the modern era in terms of the democratization of free speech and access to information. From human rights groups in China to bloggers here in the United States, the Internet has opened a global dialogue that has propelled the world into an exciting new century of connectivity and communication.
However, there is a darker side to the Internet. Along with the access and anonymity of the Internet have come those who would use it to peddle child pornography and other sexually explicit material and to prey upon children.
John McCain has been a leader in pushing legislation through Congress that requires all schools and libraries receiving federal subsidies for Internet connectivity to utilize technology to restrict access to sexually explicit material by children using such computers. While the first line of defense for children will always be strong and involved parents, when they send their child to school or drop their child off at the library, parents have the right to feel safe that someone is going to be looking out for their children.
Protecting Children from Online Predators
America's most precious asset is its children. The innocence of childhood provides hope for the future and refreshes and restores the ideals of this great country. However, there are those who prey upon this innocence and the Internet offers these predators unprecedented, often anonymous, access to children. John McCain has taken a hard line against pedophiles that would use the Internet to prey upon children by proposing the first-of-its-kind national online registry for persons who have been convicted of sex crimes against children. Senator McCain's legislation requires that sex offenders register all online accounts in a national database that can be used by law enforcement to investigate crimes against children. If these predators fail to register they would be sent to prison for ten years. The legislation also makes use of the Internet an "aggravating factor" in sex crimes against children, adding an additional ten years to any conviction. It is the responsibility of government to do all that can be done to protect children from predators who lurk on the Internet.
The Greatest Honor is to Serve the Cause of Human Dignity
There is no greater nobility than to sacrifice for a great cause and no cause greater than protection of human dignity. Decency, human compassion, self-sacrifice and the defense of innocent life are at the core of John McCain's value system and will be the guiding principles of a McCain Presidency.
"To sacrifice for a cause greater than yourself, and to sacrifice your life to the eminence of that cause, is the noblest activity of all."
John McCain is the son and grandson of military officers. He served as a Navy pilot, honored to live in the company of heroes as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and is a beloved husband and father. Senator McCain has enjoyed the quiet blessings found in serving others.