by Steven Ertelt
April 27, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore officially tossed his hat in the ring on Friday, saying he is a full-fledged candidate for the GOP nomination for president in 2008. Gilmore, who trails most of the candidates in the polls, says he’s entering the race because it needs an authentic conservative, but he takes a pro-abortion position.
Making his announcement in Des Moines, Iowa, site of the very first primary battle, Gilmore said the race for the White House “needs a candidate who is a true Reagan conservative” and “someone that won’t waffle, waver or change.”
Gilmore emphasized his record as Virginia governor and the former head of the national Republican Party and he said he would emphasize national security issues as president.
“I am convinced that America is not prepared for the challenges it faces in terms of homeland security,” Gilmore said.
While he claims to be the more conservative candidate in the GOP field, he joins a crowded primary that features numerous candidates with pro-life views that contrast with his pro-abortion stance.
In March, Gilmore explained that he backs legalized abortion up to eight weeks into pregnancy.
He spoke with the Human Events conservative newspaper and said he wants to remind voters of the pro-life bills he signed as governor.
"I was always friendly, warm, supportive, and gave them opportunities to push their ideas forward," he said.
"The result — not of that — but of their efforts, which I think I assisted them in — during my administration [we] passed the 24-hour waiting period, we passed parental notification, we passed informed consent," he added.
Gilmore also said he signed a partial-birth abortion ban the state legislature approved.
Despite those pro-life actions, Gilmore admitted that he doesn’t fully side with the pro-life movement on making abortions illegal.
"My view is that after about a period of about eight weeks where there is time for a baby to form [abortion should be allowed]," he said. "After that period of time I think there should be no further abortions — because I think the child has emerged — except to save the life of the mother and situations of extremes."
Told about how pro-life advocates have been disappointed that he has never embraced a position prohibiting abortions, Gilmore replied that "That has never been my position."
"My position has been historically the same, and it is never deviated. And I’m not going to shift or change simply because I am now a candidate for the presidency," he explained. "But I think my track record is second to none" he added, referring to the pro-life bills he signed.
On the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, Gilmore seemed to think it should be overturned and states, once again, allowed to make their own abortion laws.
"My personal view was all the way back in law school we concluded that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided," he said.
Gilmore talked about the kind of judges he would appoint as president.
"I’m going to appoint judges who will not make law from the bench and who will not carry out societal norms by virtue of twisting up the law and therefore undermining people’s confidence in the law," he said. "I will attempt to appoint strict constructionalists."
At the same time, he backed off of any pledge to appoint pro-life judges to the bench.
"I doubt seriously I’m going to direct them to rule in any particular way in any particular case or philosophy," he said. "I don’t think I’m going to appoint a judge and tell him he’s got to [overturn Roe]."
Gilmore told Human Events that he’s with the pro-life movement on bioethics issues like euthanasia and human cloning.
He said he got involved in the Hugh Finn case and worked to prevent his euthanasia death. Gilmore indicated he was attacked fiercely by assisted suicide advocates "and I still bear those scars here today."
"I became concerned about human cloning during my administration — it emerged as a scientific possibility — and I passed a law to ban human cloning in Virginia and it’s still on the books today as far as I know," he added.
Gilmore didn’t discuss embryonic stem cell research or funding of it specifically, but talked about his views on human cloning and his respect for life.
"As for stem cell research, if I ban human cloning its because I’m nervous about experimenting with people. I don’t like that," he explained. "I think it’s a dangerous path to go down."
"I’d like to find some ways that we can do some of that work under federal supervision that doesn’t create people for the purpose of destroying people for experimentation. I think it’s dangerous," Gilmore added.
While Gilmore comes down on the pro-life side on a number of various issues, pro-life advocates will have to decide if he’s better than some other leading GOP contenders who have come under criticism for their own views.