Mitch Daniels Causes Pro-Life Uproar After Declaring "Truce" on Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 10, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mich Daniels Causes Pro-Life Uproar After Declaring “Truce” on Abortion

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 10
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is seen as a potential 2012 presidential nominee to take on pro-abortion President Barack Obama. But, in an interview with the Weekly Standard, the potential candidate may have put is foot in his mouth by declaring a “truce” on social issues like abortion.

Daniels told the conservative publication the next president “would have to call a truce on the so-called social issues.”

“We’re going to just have to agree to get along for a little while,” by casting social issues like abortion aside so the next president can focus on fixing the beleaguered economy.

Expecting a backlash if the remarks weren’t explained further, Weekly Standard reporter John McCormack followed up with the governor. He asked Daniels if his remarks meant the next president shouldn’t try to stop the abortion funding in the Obama health care law or put the Mexico City Policy back in place to stop international abortion funding.

Daniels said the United States faces a “genuine national emergency” concerning the economy, budget and national debt and that “maybe these things could be set aside for a while.”

“But this doesn’t mean anybody abandons their position at all. Everybody just stands down for a little while, while we try to save the republic,” the governor added.

Daniels replied, “I don’t know,” when asked if he would issue the executive order every pro-life president has done by instituting the Mexico City Policy Obama revoked.

The comments are evoking warning shots across the bow from several key pro-life leaders — some of whom preferred not to go on the record for this story but reacted with alarm.

Others, like Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute and an early supporter of 2008 presidential hopeful John McCain, says Daniels will have a hard time winning the GOP nomination if he demurs on pro-life issues.

“Something like this will cost him any consideration from one of the key constituencies of the Republican Party,” he told

Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Reseach Council, agrees, saying Daniels’ comments “raise serious questions about his level of commitment to fundamental issues like life — leading many of us to wonder if he has the ability to lead a unified conservative movement.”

Calling the remarks a “surprising departure from his pro-family record,” Perkins said it was “astonishing” to see that “not only is he noncommittal about his role as a pro-life leader, but the Governor wouldn’t even agree to a modest step like banning taxpayer-funded promotion of abortion overseas-which President Bush did on his first day in office with 65% of the country’s support.”

“These aren’t fringe issues that stretch moderate America. They’re mainstream ideals that an overwhelming majority of the nation espouses,” he said.

Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America — a group that has spearheaded efforts to oppose Elena Kagan and the pro-abortion health care bill — didn’t mince words either.

“When it involves life, no one can make no a truce. There is no room for gray area, no time to play dead, and no time to stick out head in the sand. When you realize that 1.3 million babies are aborted every year, Governor Mitch Daniels’ words show a level of cowardice that is not expected from a presidential hopeful,” she told

She said his statements about not knowing if he would prevent taxpayer funding of abortions “illustrate that the Governor is willing to sacrifice human life in order to appease abortion supporters.”

“It signals to all pro-lifers that he wants us to stop fighting for the rights of the unborn and to start waving our white flags of defeat. Governor Daniels, the truth is sometimes not popular. Neither is taking the high road,” she said.

Daniels says a truce is essentially worse that what pro-abortion Obama has advocated — some sort of common ground, even though his actions betray his words.

“However, even President Obama didn’t go as far as to call a truce, he only called for an open discussion on the topic,” the pro-life leader notes.

Curt Smith, head of the Indiana Family Institute, who has known Daniels since the 1980s and says he is truly pro-life, says the governor might be able to pull off a truce, albeit for a limited time.

“He might be one guy who could get away with it,” told the Weekly Standard. “He has a deep faith, he’s totally pro-life, and he walks the talk. And in an acute situation, like the one we’re in now with the debt, he might get away with a truce for a year or two. But to be successful in office he’s going to have to show those folks he shares their vision.”

Indiana Right to Life endorsed Daniels in his 2008 election campaign.

During his first term, Governor Daniels has signed into law key legislation placing Indiana on the leading edge of national pro-life efforts.

That included a bill allowing women to see an ultrasound of their unborn child prior to the abortion, a bill to ban human cloning, and a measure establishing an umbilical cord blood bank to advance life-affirming stem cell research using cord blood instead of killing human embryos.

Daniels also ended 25 years of Indiana abortion clinics operating without any significant health and safety regulations by signing into law new licensure and inspection requirements for abortion centers.

Also, under the Daniels administration, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles approved Indiana’s Choose Life license plate that provides funding for pro-life pregnancy resource centers statewide.

“Governor Daniels has helped to advance the pro-life cause in Indiana but there is much more work left to do,” IRTL president Mike Fichter said at the time.

But if Daniels leaves the pro-life cause unemployed while he focuses on the economy, the chances of becoming the next president are slim to none.

He is on the short list of every political observer looking at serious candidates to challenge Obama, but former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani was, too, and then his campaign sank into oblivion as Republican voters were reminded he wouldn’t advance the pro-life standard.


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