Rudy Giuliani joined his fellow Republican candidates today in applauding the Supreme Court’s ruling against so-called ‘partial-birth abortion,’ as reported at The Hill:

‘”The Supreme Court reached the correct conclusion in upholding the congressional ban on partial birth abortion,” said Giuliani in a statement on the 5-4 decision. “I agree with it.”

Yet video up on YouTube — the topic of an earlier post — includes CNN footage of then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani fielding a question in which he’s asked if he supports partial birth abortion. He answers, shaking his head: “No, I have not supported that. And I don’t see my position on that changing.”

Whatever happened between that interview and now, his statement regarding today’s ruling is briefer and palpably seems less enthusiastic than those of the other two candidates, both of which include some flowery rhetoric affirming the symbolic as well as legal implications of the ruling:

“Today, our nation’s highest court reaffirmed the value of life in America by upholding a ban on a practice that offends basic human decency,” former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said. “This decision represents a step forward in protecting the weakest and most innocent around us.”

Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) hailed the decision as “a victory for those who cherish the sanctity of life and integrity of the judiciary.” The senator added that the ruling “speaks to the importance of nominating and confirming strict-constructionist judges who interpret the law as it is written, and do not usurp the authority of Congress and state legislatures.”

I’ll leave it to the reader to decide which of those two is the more enthusiastic. But Rudy’s statement is definitely more clinical and doesn’t really depart what my dad calls the “pro-choice but squeamish” sentiment of many moderates on the issue. Giuliani’s moderate position on abortion, however, would likely play better in a general election than in the polarized primary votes.

According to the March 18th 2007 Grand Rapids Press, which I’d link if it weren’t only on Lexis-Nexis, Giuliani declared in 1989, “There must be public funding for abortion for poor women” and in February of this year he stated plainly “I believe in a woman’s right to choose.”

Giuliani’s opposition to ‘partial birth abortion’ has provided a convenient way for him to please pro-lifers on the stump, so this ruling might force him to attack the issue a little differently. It will be interesting to see how he might change his rhetoric and/or position on the issue.