In a post yesterday, I criticized the record of Congressman Joe Schwarz. I have since received negative feedback on that post from Schwarz's staff. In an attempt to be as fair as possible, I will post detailed analyses of his positions. The post below this one examines his record on guns. This post will focus on his position on abortion.
I stated in my previous post that Schwarz is pro-abortion. By "pro-abortion," I mean that he believes that abortion should be legal. Schwarz has said in the past that he "personally" opposes abortion, but he does not think that it should be illegal. As stated, this is the same position that John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, and Jennifer Granholm have taken. I believe that these three are insincere, and are simply looking for a way to camouflage their pro-abortion beliefs (and reconcile them with their affiliation with the Catholic church.)
I don't know whether Schwarz is sincere. Let us assume that he is. How has Schwarz's personal opposition to abortion influenced his actions? Has he participated in a pro-life rally, such as the annual March for Life? Has he protested in front of an abortion clinic? Has he donated money to a pro-life group, or a crisis pregnancy center? (I don't know the answers to these questions. If you do, please post them in the comments.)
Here is what Schwarz has to say about abortion on his House site:
As a pro-life member of Congress, I am proud to share the same view on life as President Bush and former Michigan Gov. John Engler.
During my 16-year tenure in the Michigan Senate I voted to ban both partial-birth abortion and assisted suicide. Now, as a representative in Congress, I will continue to support those positions.
My pro-life exceptions include cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother. I respect differing opinions on this very personal issue, while noting that this Congress is unlikely to bring up the issue of Roe v. Wade.
I am a co-sponsor of H.R. 748, "The Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act," sponsored by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.). Approved by the House with my support on April 27, this bill prohibits the transportation of a minor across state lines to get an abortion in situations in which the minor resides in a state (e.g., Michigan) with parental-consent laws, unless the abortion is to save the life of the mother.
During my first three months in Congress, I cast an important vote in favor of S. 686, for a federal-court review of the case of Theresa Marie Schiavo. I am proud of this vote and consider it an important part of my pro-life record.
As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I voted against an amendment in committee to the 2006 defense authorization bill that would loosen restrictions for receiving abortions in overseas military hospitals. It is currently legal for military members to have an abortion in an overseas military hospitals only in cases of incest, rape, or to save the life of the mother. The amendment would have allowed abortions under any circumstances, while I believed the existing restrictions should be kept in place. Thankfully, the amendment was defeated."
This is what Tim Walberg has to say on his campaign site:
"Right to Life
Tim Walberg is strongly pro-life. When he first ran for public office his platform included an end to the public funding of abortions and Tim encouraged positive alternatives to abortion that ministered to the needs of desperate teens and adults. His consistent efforts earned for him the "Advocate for Life" award from Michigan Right to Life.
Congressman Schwarz supports abortion on demand believing that it is "a woman’s right to choose," [Detroit Free Press 7-18-02] and that Roe v. Wade was decided correctly [Detroit Free Press 7-1-02]."
I have not independently verified these citations, but I have no reason to believe that they are incorrect.
What do pro-life organizations have to say?
Searching the website of Michigan Right to Life turned up the following gem as part of an analysis of the 2002 governor's race:
"In the Republican primary, Posthumus will be facing off with long-shot challenger Joe Schwarz, who is a State Senator from Battle Creek. In an interview published by Michigan Information and Research Service (MIRS), Sen. Schwarz described Right to Life of Michigan as "foaming, salivating" and said "if there were a thousand of them, I might get one vote. I don't give a (expletive). That's not who I'm after. I think they're wrong." Sen. Schwarz obviously does not share the same views as Right to Life of Michigan."
The website of National Right to Life has ratings of Congress. In their ratings of 2005, the one year Schwarz has completed in Congress, they found that out of seven total votes, he voted the pro-life way five times and the pro-abortion way two times. This was better than four of Michigan's Democratic congressmen and worse than two others. It was the worst record of any of Michigan's Republican congressmen.
Right to Life has endorsed Tim Walberg.
The August 4, 2002 Kalamazoo Gazette describes Schwarz's position this way: "Yet while many Republicans disagree with Schwarz's support for abortion rights and for stricter gun controls..."
Schwarz is quoted in the same article as saying the following about pro-lifers: "Moral absolutists drive me a little bonkers," Schwarz says. "Voters do not want to muddy the political process with arguments and issues that are best left to people's personal choice."
Finally, it is also noteworthy that Schwarz has been endorsed by former Michigan governor William Milliken. What is particularly interesting about this is that Milliken has refused to endorse every Republican nominee for President and governor since 1980 because they were pro-life. Evidently, Joe Schwarz didn't fail that test.
UPDATE: Planned Parenthood has contributed $10,000 to Schwarz, and he accepted it.
It is clear that Joe Schwarz is pro-abortion. He may vote for a few pro-life measures, but he is not pro-life. That is why Right to Life has endorsed Tim Walberg, and it is why any pro-life voter should support him.