March 12th, 2009
04:01 PM ET
11 years ago

Steele faces more fallout over abortion comments

Criticism is mounting over Steele's abortion comments.

Criticism is mounting over Steele's abortion comments.

(CNN) - A chorus of leading conservatives continued to criticize GOP chairman Michael Steele Thursday over the Republican leader's comments on abortion in an interview with GQ magazine.

Former Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, arguably the most high profile conservative to weigh in on the matter, said Steele's subsequent clarification "doesn't explain why he would ever say what he did in the first place."

"For Chairman Steele to even infer that taking a life is totally left up to the individual is not only a reversal of Republican policy and principle, but it's a violation of the most basic of human rights–the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," Huckabee wrote in an entry on his Web site.

In the GQ interview, Steele called abortion an "individual choice" and said the matter should be left up to the states to decide. He later issued a statement saying he has always been pro-life.

Earlier:  Steele clarifies abortion comments

But Ken Blackwell, a former rival of Steele for the RNC chairmanship, told the conservative Web site that Steele needs to "re-read the Bible, the U.S. Constitution, and the 2008 GOP Platform."

"He then needs to get to work - or get out of the way," added Blackwell, who ultimately put his support behind Steele in the contentious race last month to lead the party.

Meanwhile Lou Engle, founder of TheCall and a leading pro-life, pro-family voice, called Steele's comments "extremely disappointing."

"It can never be a ‘choice’ for an individual to take a life," said Engle. "Life is the first right granted in our nation’s Declaration of Independence. The Chairman would do well to study that and other documents and recommit himself to the pro-life principles espoused by his party."

Other high-profile conservatives who have expressed criticism over the comments include Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, anti-abortion activist Jill Stanek, and Americans United for Life and Action CEO Charmaine Yoest.

Steele is reportedly reaching out to several conservatives Thursday in an attempt to ease their concerns. He's also slated to sepak next month at the Vanderburgh County Right to Life dinner in Evansville, Indiana, a major gathering of pro-life activists.

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