1st write-thru; contains additional quotes
Washington (CNSNews.com) - Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes blasted rival John McCain on the abortion issue Monday, saying that anyone who votes for the Arizona senator "betrays" the pro-life position.
"John McCain is not pro life," said Keyes, who has criticized McCain's abortion position in the past. "Anyone who votes for John McCain betrays the pro-life proponents."
Keyes took a break from his South Carolina Republican primary campaign Monday to tell reporters at a Washington, D.C. news conference that he's not buying McCain's position on abortion.
The former ambassador referred to an earlier, theoretical question in which McCain was asked how he would respond to the question of whether a daughter of his should have an abortion. McCain did not say that he would tell his daughter to carry the baby to term.
"If he's going to give a pro-abortion, pro-choice answer to his daughter, he has given that answer to the rest of the country," said Keyes, who spoke at the National Press Club.
"In his heart, John McCain is not pro-life. I can hear what he says to his children, and unless he is some kind of unnatural parent, what we say to our children reflects the deep seated conviction in our heart," said Keyes.
During his time in the Senate McCain has twice voted to override President Bill Clinton's veto of a bill that would have ended partial birth abortions. He also voted in favor of a law that would have prevented family planning clinics that receive federal funding from counseling women on abortion.
"Life in a womb," Keyes said, "is not a matter for human choice because as a matter of American principle it is understood that the right to life along with our other inalienable rights are based not on human choice but on the choice of our creator, God. A power beyond our power. A will beyond our will."
Keyes was also critical of federal court rulings that have expanded abortion going so far as to saying the decisions are unlawful.
"Whether the Constitution is interpreted by some court or a law is passed by some majority in way that denies to any human being their God given right, that is not lawful. That is not right. That is not just and it should not stand. " Keyes said.
Keyes also criticized the Clinton Administration's handling of national security issues and warned that Republicans have an uphill battle in the November elections because of what he called a "moral crisis" in the United States.
Following his stop in Washington, Keyes said he was headed to South Carolina to continue his campaign for that state's GOP primary, scheduled for February 19. Keyes received six percent of the vote in the New Hampshire Republican primary last week and 14 percent of the vote in the Iowa caucuses last month.