Mitch Daniels Walks Back Opposition to Pro-Life Policy, Keeps Abortion Truce

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 18, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mitch Daniels Walks Back Opposition to Pro-Life Policy, Keeps Abortion Truce

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 18
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — After causing national outrage among pro-life advocates, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is walking back comments he made saying he would not sign the Mexico City Policy. That’s the presidential policy Barack Obama overturned that prevents funding groups that perform and promote abortions in other nations.

In an interview with Weekly Standard columnist John McCormack, Daniels said he was unsure if he would overturn Obama’s decision to force taxpayers to finance pro-abortion groups.

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.

Now, Daniels tells reporter Michael Gerson he would sign the Mexico City Policy but he is sticking to his controversial comments calling for a "truce" on abortion.

"I would reinstate the Mexico City policy," Daniels said, adding that promoting abortion with money meant for family planning is one of "a thousand things we shouldn’t be spending money on."

On the subject of the truce, Daniels appears to believe that national defense is more important than protecting the right to life of unborn children.

"If there were a WMD attack, death would come to straights and gays, pro-life and pro-choice," he told Gerson.

"If the country goes broke, it would ruin the American dream for everyone. We are in this together. Whatever our honest disagreements on other questions, might we set them aside long enough to do some very difficult things without which we will be a different, lesser country?" Daniels said.

"No one may take the offer. … But I’m not prepared to give up on the idea we can address this thing. If we can’t — well, the cynics were right. But somebody has to try," he said of the truce.

After interviewing Daniels, Gerson provided his own take on the potential 2012 presidential candidates’ comments.

"Daniels’ pro-life record is strong. The main problem with his truce proposal is not its moderation but its naivete. Just how would avoiding fights on unrelated social issues make Democratic legislators more likely to vote for broad budget cuts and drastic entitlement reforms?" Gerson asks.

"It is a measure of Daniels’ standing as a possible Republican candidate in 2012 that his answer caused a considerable stir," he added. "Daniels’ clarification on Mexico City shows his realism. But his continued insistence on the idea of a truce shows his stubbornness — a defining characteristic."

Daniels’ truce produced an outcry from the pro-life movement.

Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute responded, “Something like this will cost him any consideration from one of the key constituencies of the Republican Party."

Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, agreed, 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."

Kristan Hawkins, the president of Students for Life of America and former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee also responded.


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