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Romney Pushes Pro-Life Views After Declining Pledge, Faces Heat

by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 6/19/11 12:45 PM

National, Politics

Mitt Romney has penned a new pro-life opinion column immediately after coming under criticism for not signing the Susan B. Anthony List’s pro-life pledge that five other presidential candidates put their signature to recently.

The Susan B. Anthony List said it asked all of the candidates who have officially announced a presidential campaign or exploratory committee to sign the pledge certifying they will not just check off the pro-life box but show true pro-life leadership if elected president. Signers of the pledge include Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum. Romney and Cain declined.

Responding for Romney, spokeswoman Andrea Saul told LifeNews, “Governor Romney pledged in the last campaign that he would be a pro-life president and of course he pledges it today.”

“However, this well intentioned effort has some potentially unforeseen consequences and he does not feel he could in good conscience sign it. Gov. Romney has been a strong supporter of the SBA List in the past and he looks forward to continue working with them to promote a culture of life,” she said. “The pledge calls for legislation to strip taxpayer funding from hospitals around the country, and strictly limits the choices a President would have to appoint cabinet members.”

Now, Romney has published a new opinion column at National Review outlining his pro-life stances on various key issues voters are considering in selecting a Republican nominee to replace pro-abortion President Barack Obama.  Romney says:

I am pro-life and believe that abortion should be limited to only instances of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. I support the reversal of Roe v. Wade, because it is bad law and bad medicine. Roe was a misguided ruling that was a result of a small group of activist federal judges legislating from the bench.

I support the Hyde Amendment, which broadly bars the use of federal funds for abortions. And as president, I will support efforts to prohibit federal funding for any organization like Planned Parenthood, which primarily performs abortions or offers abortion-related services.

I will reinstate the Mexico City Policy to ensure that nongovernmental organizations that receive funding from America refrain from performing or promoting abortion services, as a method of family planning, in other countries.  This includes ending American funding for any United Nations or other foreign assistance program that promotes or performs abortions on women around the world.

I will advocate for and support a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion.

And perhaps most importantly, I will only appoint judges who adhere to the Constitution and the laws as they are written, not as they want them to be written.

As much as I share the goals of the Susan B. Anthony List, its well-meaning pledge is overly broad and would have unintended consequences. That is why I could not sign it. It is one thing to end federal funding for an organization like Planned Parenthood; it is entirely another to end all federal funding for thousands of hospitals across America. That is precisely what the pledge would demand and require of a president who signed it.

The pledge also unduly burdens a president’s ability to appoint the most qualified individuals to a broad array of key positions in the federal government. I would expect every one of my appointees to carry out my policies on abortion and every other issue, irrespective of their personal views.

If I have the opportunity to serve as our nation’s next president, I commit to doing everything in my power to cultivate, promote, and support a culture of life in America.

The Susan B. Anthony List says Romney’s response to his decision to not sign their pro-life pledge is inadequate.

“Our next president must recognize the urgency of addressing over a million abortions per year,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “That’s why our pledge calls for active leadership, not just checking the box. Five candidates took the pledge, and the pro-life grassroots know where they stand.”

“Governor Romney refused to take the pledge and his explanation raises more questions than answers. In good conscience, we cannot let this rest,” Dannenfelser added. “He seems to indicate that he wants the freedom to nominate pro-abortion candidates for key cabinet positions such as Attorney General or Secretary of Health and Human Services. This is precisely what we want to rule out and it is unacceptable.”

Dannenfelser also takes on Romney’s excuse that de-funding Planned Parenthood or abortion in the way the SBA List pledge describes would somehow result in cutting off funding to hospitals.

“He chooses to identify non-existent legislation that would defund hospitals as a reason not to sign. Defunding hospitals has never been considered by Congress, is not part of public debate, and is not part of the pledge,” Dannenfelser said. “95 percent of abortions are performed outside of hospitals. Instead, we outlined existing pieces of pro-life legislation that address taxpayer funding of abortion. We would like to know where he stands on each measure.”

Herman Cain has also issued a response to criticism over his not signing the pledge. He based his decision to not sign it on the claim that he can’t “advance” the fetal-pain based abortion ban since he is not a member of Congress.