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On the February 14 edition of CNN's Larry King Live, host Larry King told former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R): "I know you're pro-choice. You've always been pro-choice." Giuliani replied, "I am." However, as Media Matters for America noted, Giuliani began his 1989 mayoral campaign an opponent of Roe v. Wade and abortion rights.
Newsday reported on February 22, 1989, that leaders of New York's Conservative Party said Giuliani "assured them he was personally opposed to abortion, did not favor government funding or criminal penalties, did favor an exemption in cases of rape or incest, and was in favor of overturning the U.S. Supreme Court's decision legalizing abortion, Roe v. Wade." In an April 9, 1989, New York Times article, Giuliani was quoted as saying, ''I have indicated in the past that as a lawyer, and also for religious reasons, I would be opposed to Roe against Wade. ... That, however, is not something that would come before me as mayor.'' However, Giuliani reportedly shifted his position nearer to Election Day. In an October 13, 1989, article, the Associated Press explained: "Once an outright opponent, [Giuliani] now says he supports abortion rights, and would not seek to reduce funds or services, even though he remains personally opposed."
In an April 6, 1989, article, The New York Times called Giuliani's abortion position "flexible," noting that Giuliani was both "opposed to abortion and even the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision" and had "tempered his abortion position so that it is similar to that of other prominent New York Catholic politicians, like Gov. Mario M. Cuomo. But Giuliani does not always shift like that, because he wants to appeal to Republicans as well as Democrats."
A leaked 1993 "Rudolph W. Giuliani Vulnerability Study" similarly acknowledged that Giuliani was inconsistent in his position on abortion rights. The 1993 "Vulnerability Study" was, as the New York Daily News reported, written by "two Giuliani advisers [who] wrote frankly about how parts of Giuliani's past could come back to haunt him -- from the 'weirdness factor' of his first marriage to his second cousin, to his draft history during the Vietnam War, to his work as assistant attorney general in Reagan's Justice Department." The study warned that Giuliani "is vulnerable on ... his flip-flops on various issues [and] the reversals of many of his major convictions" and also that "Giuliani's lack of consistency on major issues, like abortion, also reinforced criticism that he would do anything to get himself elected." The study could only say that Giuliani "has been consistently pro-choice for at least four years."
From the February 14 edition of CNN's Larry King Live:
KING: Let's move to some things domestic. You've had some quotes lately that -- that seem contradictory.
I know you're pro-choice. You've always been pro-choice.
GIULIANI: I am.
KING: Yet you'll say you'll appoint judges who are strict constructionists. If that's the case, they're going to vote to overturn Roe versus Wade, which you don't want.
GIULIANI: I don't know that. You don't know that.
KING: Well, what is strict constructionist?
GIULIANI: Well, OK, there are a lot of ways to explain that. I mean --
KING: Do you still favor Roe versus Wade?
GIULIANI: I am pro-choice, yeah. But I -- I'm also, as you know -- always have been -- against abortion, hate abortion, don't like it, wouldn't personally advise anyone to have an abortion and -- but I believe a woman has a right to choose. And you can't have criminal penalties, and I think that would be wrong.