GOP Candidates Applaud, Democrats Deplore Abortion

WASHINGTON (AP) - Republican presidential candidates, who differ
on abortion rights, were unanimous Wednesday in their praise for
the Supreme Court's ruling upholding the Partial Birth Abortion Ban

Democratic candidates uniformly deplored the 5-4 ruling in which
the court said the 2003 ban does not violate a woman's
constitutional right to an abortion.

Abortion opponents had hoped for such an outcome from the more
conservative court.

"I'm very happy about the decision given my position on
abortion. Partial birth is one of the most odious aspects of
abortion," Arizona Sen. John McCain said while campaigning in
South Carolina.

McCain also said he felt some vindication from criticism he
received for working with Democrats to prevent filibusters on
Supreme Court nominees. "I think it's a lesson of what
bipartisanship can achieve if you're willing to sit down with
Democrats in a reasonable fashion," he said.

In a separate statement issued by his campaign, McCain said,
"It is critically important that our party continues to stand on
the side of life."

The admonition seemed aimed at former New York Mayor Rudy
Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, other leading
contenders for the GOP nomination.

Giuliani favors abortion rights and has drawn criticism for
supporting public funding of some abortions. But he says he would
appoint justices very similar to Chief Justice John Roberts and
Justice Samuel Alito, President Bush's appointees. Both were part
of the majority in Wednesday's ruling.

Giuliani said in a statement that he approves of the high
court's action.

"The Supreme Court reached the correct conclusion in upholding
the congressional ban on partial birth abortion. I agree with it,"
he said.

Romney opposes abortion rights, although he supported the issue
previously. He opposes a constitutional amendment banning abortion
and says states should decide the issue.

McCain's record is not clear-cut on abortion, either: He saidonce in 1999 that he didn't think Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision legalizing abortion, should be overturned but now he
advocates its repeal.

Republican Sam Brownback, a presidential hopeful favored by
abortion foes, said the ruling would result "in lives being
saved." He also voted for the ban in 2003.

He said the ruling shows the Roe vs. Wade decision was not so
expansive that it prevented any limitation on abortion.

"There's been questions about the constitutionality of Roe
versus Wade for some time, from both the left and the right,"
Brownback said in an interview.

Among Democrats running for president, Sen. Joe Biden of
Delaware voted for the ban, while Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York
and Christopher Dodd of Connecticut voted against it. North
Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who was running for president at the
time, missed the votes on the issue.

On Wednesday, Edwards said he "could not disagree more
strongly" with the high court's decision.

"The ban upheld by the Court is an ill-considered and sweeping
prohibition that does not even take account for serious threats to
the health of individual women," Edwards said. "This hard right
turn is a stark reminder of why Democrats cannot afford to lose the
2008 election."

Illinois Sen. Barack Obama said the decision is a dramatic
departure from precedents safeguarding women's health.

"I am extremely concerned that this ruling will embolden state
legislatures to enact further measures to restrict a woman's right
to choose, and that the conservative Supreme Court justices will
look for other opportunities to erode Roe v. Wade, which is
established federal law and a matter of equal rights for women,"
Obama said.