The comments national Republican Party chairman made to a magazine that made it seem like he was watering down his pro-life views are still causing heartburn for pro-life advocates. Steele made it appear he supported abortion and backed overturning Roe but not wanting a Human Life Amendment.
The Republican Party has taken a pro-life position for decades backing the amendment to provide legal protection for unborn children.
Steele's comments came in an interview with GQ magazine and he said in a statement afterwards that he had misspoken and that his remains firmly pro-life. But, that hasn't quelled the controversy.
Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate called Steele's remarks "very troubling" and, despite his clarification, "the party stands to lose many of its members and a great deal of its support in the trenches of grass-roots politic."
“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," he said.
Some pro-life Republicans are calling for Steele to resign from his position and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, who ran against him for the RNC chairmanship, echoed the feelings of many pro-life activists within the party.
“Chairman Steele needs to reread the Bible, the U.S. Constitution and the 2008 GOP Platform,” said Blackwell, according to Politico. “He then needs to get to work or get out of the way.”
Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, also worries about the effect Steele's comments will have on the Republican Party, especially at a time when more opposition to pro-abortion President Barack Obama is needed.
"This only serves to reinforce the belief by many social conservatives that one major party is unfriendly to their values while the other gives only lip service to core moral issues," he said.
such a visible Republican leader continues in this same vein, I'm
sure many more will drop their affiliation with the GOP," he
concluded. "The prospects of more social conservatives leaving
may excite the 'big tenters,' but that will only last until they discover
the Big Tent is empty."