June 10, 2011

The Pro-Life Views Of Republicans In The Presidential Race

It's time to examine the views on abortion from the Republicans in the field for the 2012 presidential election.  The following are those that have declared to run or highly likely to run. This is not the entire compilation of everything they publicly said or voted on about the abortion issue, but there is enough to get a good feel of how each one views the subject.

Rick Perry

Earlier this year Rick Perry signed into law a sonogram bill as governor of Texas.  The legislation allows women to see the ultrasound 24 hours before the abortion. He recently stated his support for states' rights for the abortion issue, saying states should have the right to ban abortions.

LifeNews reports the following:

Most recently, he signed into law a bill that would revoke taxpayer funding of the Planned Parenthood abortion business. But going back to the beginning, as the Lt. Governor in 1999, Perry oversaw the passage by the Texas Senate of the Parental Notification Act, the most substantial pro-life law passed in Texas up to that point. In 2005, Gov. Perry signed the parental consent measure to increase parents’ rights and, in the years since the parental notification and consent laws have been in effect, abortions on minor girls have dropped by 32% per year.

In 2003, Perry signed the Prenatal Protection Act, a law that protects unborn children from violent crimes of murder and assault by expanding the definition of human life in Texas criminal and civil law to include unborn children “at every stage of gestation from fertilization to birth.” Texas’ highest criminal court has upheld convictions of criminals for the murder of unborn children several times, and several are serving life sentences.

In 2005, Perry signed a measure prohibiting abortions in the third trimester and, in 2003, Perry signed the Woman’s Right to Know Act in 2003, which required that abortion businesses offer state-created informational brochures to women considering abortion. That law also prohibits late abortions from being performed excepted in hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers.

At a recent event in Los Angeles Perry stated:

Since Roe v. Wade, Perry said, "50 million children have lost their chance at life -- a tragic legacy of judicial activism and a stark reminder that our culture and our country are still in peril." ...

 "There is no such thing as an unwanted child in the eyes of God."

Mitt Romney

Bob Enyart, a spokesman for American Right To Life, told The Huffington Post  recently that his organization is planning to run ads showing that Romney had made statements supporting a woman's right to choose.

"We plan to make every effort to let pro-lifers know that Mitt Romney is trying to use them to win the nomination," said Enyart. "We believe he is not at all pro-life and he is just manipulating people. The Republican Party has seemed to use abortion for years now as a political tool or weapon without the real concern if it is immoral. It is just a fundraising ploy and a way to get votes."

The Washington Post has the timeline of Romney's political career concerning the abortion issue from 1994 to 2007. In 1994 Romney said he was personally opposed to abortion but would not try to overturn Roe v. Wade. Later that year he supported the morning after pill and attended a Planned Parenthood fundraiser.

On October of 1994 Ted Kennedy accused Romney of being multiple choice on abortion.  Romney denied the charge, saying that he has supported abortion rights consistently since 1970 when his mother Lenore ran as a pro-abortion rights candidate for the U.S. Senate candidate in Michigan. He linked his support for abortion rights to the death "many years ago" of a "dear, close family relative" following a botched illegal abortion. "You will not see me wavering on that," he adds.  In 2001 he made the statement that he didn't want to be labled "pro-choice."

In 2002 Romney says his position on abortion has been "the same throughout my political career." Says he will "preserve and protect" abortion rights in Massachusetts. Between 2002 and 2007 he made other "pro-choice statements and decisions.

On February 2007 Romney announced that he was running for president. On May 10 Romney received the Political Leadership award from Massachusetts Citizens for Life at a Mothers' Day dinner. He described himself as a "convert" to the antiabortion cause, in the tradition of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

On June 15 2007 he told the National Right to Life convention that even though he was "always personally opposed to abortion," he decided to support "the law as it was in place" as governor of Massachusetts. "I was wrong."

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin's pro-life views were documented in November of 2006 when she was running for governor of Alaska. She was asked if she would approve of abortion if her daughter was raped.  Palin responded that she would grant exceptions only if the mother's life was in danger.  When it came to her daughter, she said, "I would choose life."

By her own actions she has displayed a strong pro-life stance. Approximately 90% of unborn babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome are aborted.  She decided to have her son Trig knowing that he had Down Syndrome.

Her stance on Roe v. Wade was explained in a CBS interview in 2008:

Q: Do you think there’s an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution?

 A: I do. Yeah, I do.

 Q: The cornerstone of Roe v. Wade.

 A: I do. And I believe that individual states can best handle what the people within the different constituencies in the 50 states would like to see their will ushered in an issue like that.

 Q: Why is Roe v. Wade a bad decision?

 A: I think it should be a states’ issue not a federal government-mandated, mandating yes or no on such an important issue. I’m, in that sense, a federalist, where I believe that states should have more say in the laws of their lands and individual areas. Now, foundationally, it’s no secret that I’m pro-life that I believe in a culture of life is very important for this country. Personally that’s what I would like to see further embraced by America.

Palin supports abstinence education in the schools and does not support taxpayers supporting contraception distribution in the schools. Sarah Palin is a member of Feminists For Life.

Tim Pawlenty

Tim Pawlenty May Be The Most Pro-Life Candidate In 2012 states the National Review Online. They detail all of his pro-life views, policies, and legislation as governor of Minnesota:

During his first year as governor in 2003, Pawlenty signed into law the Woman’s Right to Know Act, giving women information about abortion risks and alternatives as well as information on fetal development. Minnesota was also the first to give women information on fetal pain — coming well in advance of the new trend of banning abortions based on that scientific concept, which Nebraska started last year. The former governor followed up that bill by signing the Unborn Child Pain Prevention Act in 2005 to give women even more information on the pain their babies feel during an abortion. Pawlenty didn’t stop there. In 2005 he signed the Positive Alternatives to Abortion Act to make Minnesota one of just a handful of states that send public funds to pregnancy centers providing tangible support for pregnant women and abortion alternatives. Since then, it has helped more than 18,000 pregnant women and their families.

Again proving his commitment to women and his understanding of the myriad medical and mental-health problems women face following an abortion, Governor Pawlenty issued a proclamation in 2010 designating the month of April as “Abortion Recovery Month” and urging agencies in the state to help women who are suffering problems following their abortions. Recognizing the massive national post-abortion movement, which features millions of women who regret their abortions, Pawlenty again led the way by acknowledging this post-abortion pain in a way most other states have not.

Governor Pawlenty’s pro-life record includes everything from promoting perinatal hospices as alternatives to abortion in cases when a baby is diagnosed with a severe medical condition, to declaring pro-life days recognizing the tragedy of Roe v. Wade, to speaking at rallies and events for key pro-life groups like Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.

In a time when some pro-life advocates abandoned the pro-life movement on bioethics issues, Pawlenty stood fast. He vetoed a cloning bill that would have legalized human cloning and forced taxpayers to pay for the destruction of human life, saying destroying human embryos crossed “core ethical and moral boundaries.” The governor also signed into law a ban on taxpayer funding of human cloning, because he rightfully acknowledges that adult stem-cell research is not only more ethical but more effective in helping patients. A President Pawlenty would assuredly overturn Pres. Barack Obama’s executive order forcing taxpayers to fund embryonic stem-cell research that destroys human lives and has never helped a single patient.

The Pawlenty pro-life track record has produced proven results: The Minnesota health department indicated last year that abortions have dropped 14 percent and hit a 35-year low.

On June 7, 2011 Pawlenty said that if elected he would sign a bill banning funding for Planned Parenthood.

Newt Gingrich

In an interview for The American View in 2005 Newt Gingrich was asked about his pro-life stance:

AV: Since your book is titled “Winning the Future,” and nations who kill their children have no future, literally, I was surprised that you had nothing to say in your book about abortion which is, I think, the premier moral issue in our country.

Gingrich: Abortion is a very, very important moral question and I think it’s a very important question about the very nature of society. And I think that in terms of voting on the issue and speaking on the issue I’ve been pretty clear in my entire career. I did cite at the beginning of the book, that I think that people who are not certain how they feel about “right to life,” have in fact been coming our way. And that was the issue on what do you do if somebody killed the baby while they are attacking the mother? Does that mean that the person attacking is potentially charged with two crimes, again the Lacy Peterson kind of case. Literally something like 86%- 88% of the people agree that in that kind of circumstance, the person has indeed killed a baby and that’s a very important discussion point to include in the discussion of the culture of life.

 AV: Well, I think that one of the things that really did surprise me about your basically saying nothing about abortion, was that it would have easily fit into chapter 4 about “out of control courts.” But there was no mention made in that chapter even though Roe vs. Wade was the most out of control, controversial case in modern times, maybe ever, which resulted in the killing of more than 40 million innocent, unborn babies since 1973. So, it would have seemed like a good place to mention abortion, in chapter 4.

G: I think you can make the argument that there were a number of cases involving “right to life” which could have gone into that chapter. I don’t disagree with that.

AV: Sure. You think abortion should be a crime?

G: (Pause) I think that abortion should not be legal, and I think that how you would implement that I’m not sure.

AV: OK, I’m not sure what that means —- it should not be legal. Would you make it a law that would consider it a crime to perform an abortion, or for a woman to have one? Should there be any legal protection for the unborn as far as you’re concerned?

G: There should be. And I think the focus has been on doctors performing abortions. And in that sense that we want to move the society as rapidly as we can that people should select adoption rather than abortion and that choosing abortion is not acceptable.

At a conference in Atlanta in April, 1995, Gingrich was asked about abortion. "I believe most Americans are pro-choice and anti-abortion." To many, the answer sounded to many like President Clinton's 1992 convention speech at which he said abortions should be "safe, legal, and rare."

On April 9, 1995 Congressman Gingrich appeared on "Face the Nation" and noted that he supported funding for an abortion in the cases of rape, incest, and to protect the health of the mother.

While in office, Congressman Gingrich twice voted in favor of the ban on partial-birth abortion.

The Political Guide states that in 2011, Congressman Gingrich supported an Ohio law that made abortions illegal after a detectable heart beat is present. He wants to end taxpayer subsidies for abortion by repealing Obamacare, defund Planned Parenthood, and reinstate the “Mexico City Policy” which banned funding to organizations that promote and/or perform abortions overseas.

On his official campaign site Newt Gingrich doesn't specifically say anything about abortion, but the closest he comes is the following:

The revolutionary idea contained in the Declaration of Independence is that certain fundamental human rights, including the right to life, are gifts from God and cannot be given nor taken away by government.  Yet, secular radicals are trying to remove “our Creator” – the source of our rights - from public life.  Newt has an aggressive strategy to defend life and religious liberty in America.

Rick Santorum

On The Issues reported on the 2006 Senate debate where Rick Santorum's views on abortion were spelled out:

Q: Are you in favor of Plan B, the morning-after pill?

 SANTORUM: It is an abortifacient in certain circumstances. If the egg has been fertilized and the pill is taken, it does cause an abortion. It’s inconsistent with his previous position and violated his principles.

Q: If you believe that life begins at conception, then why do you support exceptions for rape, incest, and life of mother?

 SANTORUM: Yeah, I would vote for things like that.

 Q: But it’s the taking of a life.

 SANTORUM: The Hyde Amendment allows rape, incest, life of the mother. That is the common ground we could get, and I would support that.

 Q: But by your standards, it’s the taking of a life.

 SANTORUM: It is, there’s no question it’s the taking of a life. But it is an attempt for me to try to see if we can find common ground to actually make progress in limiting the other abortions. So yes, that’s what I would do.

On The Issues also detailed his other pro-life accomplishments:

Voted YES on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions.
Reference: Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act; Bill S.403 ; vote number 2006-216 on Jul 25, 2006

Voted NO on $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education & contraceptives.
Reference: Appropriation to expand access to preventive health care services; Bill S.Amdt. 244 to S Con Res 18 ; vote number 2005-75 on Mar 17, 2005

Voted YES on criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus during other crime.
Reference: Unborn Victims of Violence Act; Bill S.1019/HR.1997 ; vote number 2004-63 on Mar 25, 2004

Voted YES on banning partial birth abortions except for maternal life.
Reference: Bill S.3 ; vote number 2003-51 on Mar 12, 2003

Voted YES on maintaining ban on Military Base Abortions.
Reference: Bill S 2549 ; vote number 2000-134 on Jun 20, 2000

Voted YES on banning partial birth abortions.
Status: Bill Passed Y)63; N)34; NV)3
Reference: Partial Birth Abortion Ban; Bill S. 1692 ; vote number 1999-340 on Oct 21, 1999

Voted YES on banning human cloning.
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)42; N)54; NV)4
Reference: Motion to invoke cloture on motion to proceed to S. 1601; Bill S. 1601 ; vote number 1998-10 on Feb 11, 1998

Santorum was given a 0% rating by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record.

In March 2011 Salon reported that Rich Santorum said the following:

'The reason social security is in big trouble is we don't have enough workers to support the retirees. Well, a third of all the young people in America are not in America today because of abortion, because one in three pregnancies end in abortion."

He also made a statement to CNS News about Obama and abortion:

When Barack Obama is asked is a child in the womb a human life? [He says,] 'Oh, well, that's above my pay grade.' Just about everything else in the world he's willing to do, to have the government do, but he can't answer that basic question, which is not a debatable issue at all. I don't think you'll find a biologist in the world who will say that that is not a human life. The question is--and this is what Barack Obama didn't want to answer--is that human life a person under the Constitution? And Barack Obama says no. Well, if that person, human life, is not a person, then I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say, no, we are going to decide who are people and who are not people.”

Ron Paul

In his book The Revolution: A Manifesto Ron Paul discusses the abortion issue:

A popular academic argument for abortion demands that we think of the child in the womb as a parasite.but the same argument justifies infanticide, since it applies just as well to an infant outside the womb.newborns require even more attention & care.
 People ask an expectant mother how her baby is doing. They do not ask how her fetus is doing, or her blob of tissue, or her parasite. But that is what her baby becomes as soon as the child is declared to be unwanted.

Source: The Revolution: A Manifesto, by Ron Paul, p. 59-60 Apr 1, 2008  

The federal government should not play any role in the abortion issue, according to the Constitution. Apart from waiting forever for Supreme Court justices who rule in accordance with the Constitution, Americans do have some legislative recourse. Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution gives Congress the power to strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over a broad categories of cases.

Source: The Revolution: A Manifesto, by Ron Paul, p. 60 Apr 1, 2008

In an Oct. 27, 1999 speech to Congress, Ron Paul said:

I am strongly pro-life. I think one of the most disastrous rulings of this century was Roe versus Wade. I do believe in the slippery slope theory. I believe that if people are careless and casual about life at the beginning of life, we will be careless and casual about life at the end. Abortion leads to euthanasia. I believe that.

At the GOP Values Voter Presidential Debate on Sep 17, 2007, Ron Paul was asked what he will do to restore legal protection to the unborn:

As an O.B. doctor of thirty years, and having delivered 4,000 babies, I can assure you life begins at conception. I am legally responsible for the unborn, no matter what I do, so there’s a legal life there. The unborn has inheritance rights, and if there’s an injury or a killing, there is a legal entity. There is no doubt about it.

Abortion is thoroughly discussed in Ron Paul's latest book Liberty Defined.  Here's a sampling:

Some people believe that being pro-choice is being on the side of freedom. I’ve never understood how an act of violence, killing a human being, albeit a small one in a special place, is portrayed as a precious right.

To speak only of the mother’s cost in carrying a baby to term ignores all thought of any legal rights of the unborn. I believe that the moral consequence of cavalierly accepting abortion diminishes the value of all life.

It is now widely accepted that there’s a constitutional right to abort a human fetus. Of course, the Constitution says nothing about abortion, murder, manslaughter, or any other acts of violence.  There are only four crimes listed in the Constitution: counterfeiting, piracy, treason, and slavery. Criminal and civil laws were deliberately left to the states.

It’s a giant leap for the federal courts to declare abortion a constitutional right and overrule all state laws regulating the procedure. If anything, the federal government has a responsibility to protect life—not grant permission to destroy it.

If a state were to legalize infanticide, it could be charged with not maintaining a republican form of government, which is required by the Constitution.

Ron Paul was given a rating of 0% by the pro-abortion group NARAL because of his continued support for pro-life legislation.

Herman Cain

In a radio interview in January of 2011 Cain summarized his views on abortion:

I believe that life begins at conception, period. And that means that I will have to see enough evidence that someone I would appoint shares that same view. I believe that the current Supreme Court is leaning too much to the liberal side.  I’m a Christian, I’ve been a Christian all my life. I’ve been a believer in the Bible since I was 10 years old. I’m very active in my church, and there is no way I would compromise my religious beliefs about the sanctity of life. And so it starts with, will they have demonstrated in their career, in some of their other rulings, if they come from the federal judge bench, whether or not they also share that.

Because I believe that the principles that our Founding Fathers cherished, when they founded this country, and wrote the Declaration of Independence which inspired the Constitution, they were based upon biblical principles. I want to get back to those principles as president, if I run and get elected — not rewrite those documents.

I absolutely would defund Planned Parenthood — not because I don’t believe in planning parenthood, [but because] Planned Parenthood as an organization is an absolute farce on the American people.

People who know the history of Margaret Sanger, who started Planned Parenthood, they know that the intention was not to help young women who get pregnant to plan their parenthood. No — it was a sham to be able to kill black babies.

Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson explained to the Weekly Standard his views of abortion and when life begins:

In principle, Johnson thinks abortion should be legal in most cases.

I support a woman’s right to choose [abortion] up until viability of the fetus.

Why does viability endow human beings with the right to life?

I don’t personally have a sense that life starts at conception. I don’t personally have that sense.

But as a matter of law, Johnson thinks Roe v. Wade should be overturned.

It should be a states issue to begin with.  The criteria for a Supreme Court justice would be that those justices rule on the original intent of the constitution. Given that, it’s my understanding that that justice would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Michelle Bachmann

From Michelle Bachmann's campaign site in 2006:

I firmly believe in moving toward and promoting a culture that values and respects the sanctity of life - especially those rights of the unborn and the elderly. We must protect infants at their most vulnerable stages and never overlook the weakest and most frail among us.

As a foster mother to 23 at-risk children, I applaud the work of those who reach out to assist those most in need of care.

Bachmann voted extensively pro-life on numerous bills and even co-sponsored some:

Voted NO on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines. (Jan 2007)

Bachmann co-sponsored a bill granting the preborn equal protection under 14th Amendment. (Jan 2007)

Co-sponsored a bill prohibiting transporting minors across state lines for abortion. (Jan 2008)

Bachmann signed Taxpayer Conscience Protection Act which was a bill to require States to report information on Medicaid payments to abortion providers. (Apr 2009)

Bachmann signed Life at Conception Act declaring preborn as persons under 14th amendment. (Feb 2009)

Voted to bar funding for abortion under federal Obamacare plans. (Jul 2010)

Bachmann co-sponsored Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act that prohibited federal funding to groups like Planned Parenthood. (Jan 2011)

Jon Huntsman

An examination of Jon Huntsman's pro-life views shows that in March of 2009 he signed three pro-life bills into law.  LifeNews reported on the legislation:

The first measure, HB 90, makes second-trimester abortions illegal and ups the penalty for doing an illegal later-term abortion to a second degree felony from a third degree felony.

HB 222 is a bill to allow women to know about the pain an abortion will cause to their unborn child. The bill requires abortion practitioners to tell women about the pain their baby will feel during an abortion. The measure is another effort to help reduce abortions until the day comes that unborn children are protected under law.  The bill allows women considering an abortion to provide anesthesia to the baby beforehand, which helps underscore how the abortion will hurt the baby. It allows them 24 hours to consider the pain information before going through with the abortion.

 The final bill, HB 114, would create a legal defense fund that private citizens could donate to in order to defend an abortion ban they expect to receive approval of by 2014.

Huntsman also has adopted two daughters from China and India.

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