Republican Presidential Candidates Feud Over Abortion During Debate

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 5, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 5,

Des Moines, IA ( — The Republican presidential candidates met for another debate on Sunday in Iowa and found abortion to be among the top dividing issues. The discussion was less about the policy differences between the candidates and more about the latest salvo from the Brownback campaign against his opponents.

Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas has been positioning himself as the most pro-life candidate in the race in an attempt to gain much-needed primary support.

In doing so, his campaign has launched radio ads questioning former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s change of heart on abortion just a few years ago.

Brownback called the ads that question Romney’s sincerity "truthful" and added, "I am pro-life. I think this is a core issue for our party."

But Romney, who called the ads "desperate, maybe negative," said, "I get tired of people that are holier than thou because they’ve been pro-life longer than I have."

"I am pro-life. And virtually every part of that ad is inaccurate," Romney added.

When asked what part of the ad is untrue, Romney replied, "The idea that, for instance, I’ve been in favor of taxpayer funding of abortion; that’s wrong. I oppose taxpayer funding of abortion."

However, a March 2005 Boston Globe article quotes a Planned Parenthood representative saying the former governor "professed support for state funding of abortion services for low-income women" on a political questionnaire in 2002.

The Brownback commercials say "Mitt Romney is telling Iowans that he is firmly pro-life. Nothing could be further from the truth."

They add that Romney defended abortion as late as 2005, though he has firmyl said he is pro-life since then and said he had a chang eof heart when confronted with the issue of embryonic stem cell research.

The ads also attack Romney’s wife Ann, saying she has donated money to Planned Parenthood in the past.

Also during the debate, Brownback vowed to appoint judges to the Supreme Court who would be likely to overturn the landmark Supreme Court decision that allowed virtually unlimited abortions.

"I hope, would be the voting decision to overturn Roe v. Wade," he said.

Meanwhile, pro-abortion former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani was asked to defend his position, which runs counter to the pro-life views of the other Republican presidential candidates.

"But I think ultimately that decision that has to be made is one that government shouldn’t make," Giuliani said, restating his pro-abortion views. "Ultimately, a woman should make that with her conscience and ultimately with her doctor."