Gerald Ford (1974-1977):
President Ford had a long, complicated record on the abortion issue. On September 10, 1976 he wrote the following (edited for brevity) letter to the Archbishop of Cincinnati:
One of the most controversial issues of our time and one in which we share a keen interest is the question of abortion. I have grave concern over the serious moral questions raised by this issue. Each new life is a miracle of creation. To interfere with that creative process is a most serious act. In my view, the Government has a very special role in this regard. Specifically, the Government has a responsibility to protect life–and indeed to provide legal guarantees for the weak and unprotected.
It: is within this context that I have consistently opposed the 1973 decision of the Supreme Court. As President, I am sworn to uphold the laws of the land and I intend to carry out this responsibility. In my personal view, however, this court decision was unwise. I said then and I repeat today–abortion on demand is wrong. Since 1973 I have viewed as the most practical means of rectifying the situation created by the Court’s action a Constitutional amendment that would restore to each State the authority to enact abortion statutes which fit the concerns and views of its own citizens. This approach is entirely in keeping with the system of Federalism devised by the founders of our Nation. As Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, I co-sponsored an amendment which would restore this authority to the States, and I have consistently supported that position since that time.
I should also point out that the Republican Platform which I support is fully consistent with these views.