Tea Party Patriots Co-Founder: Abortion Truce Letter Doesn’t Represent Us

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 17, 2010   |   12:41PM   |   Washington, DC

The fallout is continuing over the controversial letter a group of Tea party leaders and a pro-gay rights Republican organization authored calling for social issues to be put on the back burner.

The letter drew the ire of pro-life advocates for saying abortion didn’t matter in the 2010 mid-term elections and that fiscal issues were more important.

Ralph King, who is a Tea Party Patriots national leadership council member and a co-coordinator of its Ohio group, was one of the signers of the document.

But Brad Mattes, the director of Life Issues Institute, tells LifeNews.com King’s view doesn’t represent the organization.

“I spoke with Mark Meckler, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots. He solidly reaffirmed that the group does not take a position for or against legislation on abortion,” he said. ‘Local individuals identified with Tea Party Patriots have signed a letter asking Congress to avoid addressing social issues. Mark spoke with them and advised against doing so.”

Mattes said Meckler also acknowledged that 80% of their members are social conservatives “and that it would be suicide for their organization to take a stand opposing pro-life legislation.”

“Tea Party Patriots are not adversaries of the pro-life movement. Their efforts do much to elect pro-life candidates while staying focused on their mission,” Mattes continued.

Meanwhile, Gary Bauer, the former presidential candidate and current president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families, responded to the letter in an opinion column in USA Today.

“The Tea Party-fueled election heralds an era of fiscal responsibility, to be sure. But it also signals a desire to restore America’s sense of moral responsibility,” he said.

Bauer’s said his group commissioned an Election Day poll including 834 voters that included slightly more 2008 Obama voters than McCain voters that Bauer said indicated economic issues guided their votes for Congress but that those were not the only issues.

An overwhelming majority, 77%, felt “things in America are headed in the wrong direction,” including 59% who believed “at least part of it is due to the decline of moral and family values in society.”

“Last year, opinion polls showed for the first time that a majority of Americans consider themselves “pro-life” on abortion. In my poll, 53% held a pro-life position; 41% favored abortion,” he wrote.

“The most important source of America’s pro-life shift has been the government’s lurch to the left on abortion. No longer are the most prominent discussions about whether or not abortion should be legal. Today’s abortion debate, alas, revolves around whether and to what extent taxpayers should be obliged to pay for other people’s abortions,” he explained.

“Many self-described pro-life Democrats who voted for health care reform were ousted from office. Interestingly, those who lost went down not defending taxpayer-funded abortion but rather insisting they had voted against abortion funding,” he continued.

He noted how the Election Day returns prompted Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards to call November 2 “a difficult day” that produced “truly alarming” results.

Bauer also took on the “truce” on social issues like abortion that governors and potential presidential candidates Mitch Daniels and Hailey Barbour advocated.

“That would be nice, but the problem is that some of our politicians and courts have taken cultural issues out of the people’s hands by legislating from the bench and imposing their values on the public,” he said. “These results should help our political leaders remember that it’s far too simplistic to focus on just the economy going forward.”

Bauer also noticed that polling data on the Tea Party activists themselves show they are pro-life on abortion.

An October Public Religion Research Institute poll found that 57% call themselves Christian conservatives and 63% think abortion should be illegal in all or most cases.