The Hill: Michael Steele emphasizes anti-abortion views ahead of RNC chairmanship election

This article originally appeared online on January 3, 2011 at The Hill.

Michael Steele emphasizes anti-abortion views ahead of RNC chairmanship election
By Sean J. Miller

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele confirmed his anti-abortion rights views in an interview with the conservative group Susan B. Anthony List.

The anti-abortion rights group said in late December it would hold a widespread e-mail campaign to elect a like-minded Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman.

The group, which is co-sponsoring Monday’s RNC chairman debate, said it would reach 500,000 socially conservative activists with its campaign.

Steele previously provoked the ire of anti-abortion advocates when, shortly after being elected chairman in January 2009, he called abortion an “individual choice.” He later backed away from the comment.

Asked if he would have done anything differently regarding the issue of abortion during his two-year tenure as head of the Republican Party, Steele was taciturn. 

“Not too much,” he said.

The embattled chairman invoked his experience as an adopted child when explaining his views on abortion.

“My mom confronted a real challenge,” Steele told officials at SBA and The American Principles Project in a taped exchange.

“A lot of people don’t know that I’m adopted, and so I recognize, after understanding and appreciating the story of a scared 18-year-old college co-ed at Catholic University in 1958 who had to confront a real dilemma and that was to pursue a college career and deal with the stigma of having a child or have an abortion.

“And fortunately for me, she met a nun on her way to have an abortion and here I am. So I appreciate very much the story of life.”

He said the Bible tells people to “choose life.”

“That, for me, has never been a question,” Steele added. “This is not about the simple legalistic choice. This is about whether or not as a people we will embrace the least among us, the weakest among us.”

The other chairman candidates also spoke with the SBA List ahead of the Monday’s debate. All of the interviews are available on SBA’s web site.

— Jason Millman contributed to this post.

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