On the eve of the Democratic and Republican conventions, religious conservatives are studying the prolife track records of possible presidential running mates. Despite increased pressure from the religious right, George W. Bush told Fox News Channel in May that he would consider a candidate like Gov. Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania, who is against banning abortion but has supported some abortion restrictions. Ridge has signed legislation that requires parental notification if a pregnant teenager seeks an abortion after the 24th week. He also supports a 24-hour waiting period and a ban on partial-birth abortions.By contrast, New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, another possible Bush running mate, vetoed a state bill that would have banned the late-term procedure.James Dobson of Focus on the Family told The Wall Street Journal that unhappy conservatives would not vote for Bush if he selected a prochoice vice president."I don't believe Bush can win with a person who is not prolife," Dobson says.Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson also have commented that Bush may lose some supporters if he picks a running mate who supports abortion rights, though Robertson told CNN he "personally could probably accept" such a choice.Most of Bush's other top picks for vice president are somewhat opposed to abortion: Gov. John M. Engler signed legislation in 1996 that made Michigan the first state to ban partial-birth abortions; Ohio Rep. John R. Kasich has repeatedly voted for bans on partial-birth abortions; and Sen. George V. Voinovich, the former governor of Ohio, has taken a great deal of criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union for signing into law a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions.Indiana Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh's stance is surprisingly similar to those of the Republican contenders.Bayh, one of Al Gore's top choices for a running mate, is also against abortion rights in most circumstances.Resisting some kinds of abortion may not be enough to garner evangelical votes in a presidential election, however. Robertson told CNN that he believes most evangelicals will not accept a candidate who favors limited abortion rights.The latest rumors in the Bush campaign centered on John Danforth, 63, an Episcopal priest, former U.S. senator from Missouri, and clearly in the prolife camp. But Danforth has withdrawn himself from consideration, telling the St. Louis Post– Dispatch that he and his wife, Sally, "didn't want politics to totally define who we are."

Related Elsewhere

Christianity Today's previous political coverage of the 2000 presidential race includes includes:Bush's Faith-Based Plans | Bush argues that private religious organizations can partner successfully with government. (October 25, 1999)Can I get a Witness? | Candidate testimonies must move beyond piety to policy. (August 9, 1999)Daring to Discipline America | James Dobsons's influence is growing. Can he keep his focus? (March 1, 1999)Reconnecting with the Poor | Gore urges his own brand of compassionate conservatism. (January 11, 1999)Articles about Bush's interest in Danforth and Danforth's investigation of Waco are available from most major news organizations. Time magazine and Policy present a few of the best.The state of New Jersey Web site display's Christine Todd Whitman's voting record as Governor.Ohio politicians Senator George G. Voinovich and Congressman John R. Kasich can be researched at their respective Web sites. Kasich supporters are so sure of his future eminence that they have already reserved a site in progress for the "Kasich 2000 Expedition."Michigan's Office of the Governor touts John M. Engler's accomplishments in education and partial birth abortion reform.Research Democratic Senator Evan Bayh's voting record or visit his Homepage which links to his initiative for responsible fatherhood, as well as his proposed education reforms.

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