Family Research Council Action Slaps Michael Steele on Abortion, Issuing Ultimatum

Group leader Tony Perkins is miffed at the RNC chair over an interview with GQ magazine.

By + More

By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

Family Research Council Action President Tony Perkins is miffed over Michael Steele's interview with GQ magazine, in which the RNC chair suggests that abortion is an "individual choice" for women. Here's the exchange from GQ:

How much of your pro-life stance, for you, is informed not just by your Catholic faith but by the fact that you were adopted?
Oh, a lot. Absolutely. I see the power of life in that—I mean, and the power of choice! The thing to keep in mind about it...Uh, you know, I think as a country we get off on these misguided conversations that throw around terms that really misrepresent truth.

Explain that.
The choice issue cuts two ways. You can choose life, or you can choose abortion. You know, my mother chose life. So, you know, I think the power of the argument of choice boils down to stating a case for one or the other.

Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?
Yeah. I mean, again, I think that's an individual choice.

You do?
Yeah. Absolutely.

Are you saying you don ' t want to overturn Roe v. Wade ?
I think Roe v. Wade—as a legal matter, Roe v. Wade was a wrongly decided matter.

Okay, but if you overturn Roe v. Wade, how do women have the choice you just said they should have?
The states should make that choice. That's what the choice is. The individual choice rests in the states. Let them decide.

Do pro-choicers have a place in the Republican Party?

Elsewhere in the interview, Steele argues that gay marriage should be a state issue, which means he opposes amending the Constitution to ban gay marriage. He also sprinkles his responses with profanity. Both are likely to irk conservative Christian leaders. Here's the statement Perkins just sent round to reporters, which includes an ultimatum to Steele to respond:

"I read the article last night so I am familiar not only with his comments about the life issue but also about the efforts to redefine marriage and 'mucking' up the constitution. I expressed my concerns to the chairman earlier this week about previous statements that were very similar in nature. He assured me as chairman his views did not matter and that he would be upholding and promoting the Party platform, which is very clear on these issues. It is very difficult to reconcile the GQ interview with the chairman's pledge.

Before making further public statements regarding Mr. Steele's interview and what impact it may have upon social conservative support for the RNC I will give him an opportunity to respond to a message I've sent him regarding the matter.

How long can Steele survive when the base of his own party keeps whacking him? Steele issued a clarification of his GQ remarks this morning, but antiabortion activists are unconvinced.