Campaign of GOP Chair Candidate Maria Cino Says She’s Pro-Life

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 23, 2010   |   7:10PM   |   Washington, DC

The campaign of Republican Party chairman candidate Maria Cino says she has moved from a pro-abortion to a pro-life position.

As previously reported, Cino has a background of abortion advocacy as she served on the board of directors of the pro-abortion Republican group WISH List, a Republican counterpart to the pro-abortion Democratic Emily’s List, that seeks to elect female candidates who support abortion.

Cino gave the organization $250 in March 2001 and made two $500 contributions in August and September of 1997 and a $250 donation in September 1998, according to FEC records.

But received information today from one pro-life organization indicating Cino has reportedly changed her position and confirmed in a sit-down meeting that she is pro-life on both abortion and bioethics issues.

Her campaign has also put out a factsheet on Maria saying she holds to the pro-life position.

“Maria is a practicing Catholic and, as such, is ardently pro-life,” the factsheet says.  “In addition to having the skills and experience we need, Maria also has the conservative values we all share. Maria is a practicing Catholic who is ardently pro-life.”

Cino has also come under criticism from Dan Riehl of the Big Government web site who indicates Cino lobbied for the ObamaCare bill that allows massive funding of abortions at taxpayer expense.

“With Obamacare likely to remain front and center in the political debate going into 2012, the GOP could find itself in a real bind attacking it if a former Pfizer lobbyist who helped push Obamacare, Maria Cino, ends up heading up the RNC after the January elections,” Riehl writes.

But the factsheet her campaign produced contends: “Maria opposes Obamacare and never lobbied for its passage. In fact, Maria’s work on health care involved working with Republicans only – including some of the most conservative members of the U.S. Senate – to protect patient access to medication and business’ ability to innovate.”

That Cino is now a is now a Washington-based lobbyist for Pfizer is not in dispute but has not received response from several contacts about whether her lobbying included stumping for ObamaCare or was unrelated.

Riehl also indicates Cino skipped an event for RNC chairman candidates sponsored by a conservative group to attend a fundraiser for her campaign hosted by Republican strategist Mary Matalin. He says a donation of $1,000 she made to the campaign of pro-abortion Republican Delaware Senate candidate Mike Castle, who was taking on pro-life candidate Christine O’Donnel at the time, may cause additional consternation.

Cino’s history of supporting abortion is in contrast to the pro-life stances four other candidates took in interviews yesterday with the Susan B. Anthony List, a WISH List opponent that works to elect pro-life women and men who favor pro-abortion women.

“I believe, absolutely, that life begins at the moments of conception,” Wisconsin Republican Chairman Reince Priebus said. “It’s a core principle of mine.”

“If I was to be elected chairman of the RNC that would be something that I would have an even bigger obligation to uphold the position I have on abortion. And I think it would be a huge disappointment to God if I didn’t,” Priebus pledged.  “I am a 100 percent, Psalm 139 pro-life Republican.”

According to a Politico report, former Republican Party political director Gentry Collins “used the question to pivot to his criticism of Steele, arguing that a stronger RNC will be better able to support anti-abortion candidates” while former Michigan state GOP chairman Saul Anuzis “pointed to his past support of anti-abortion groups during his time as chairman of the Michigan Republican Party.”

Anuzis said, as a Catholic, he believes human life “begins at conception and ends at natural death.”

SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser also asked each of the candidates if he had contributed to a “pro-choice organization.” All three said they had not.

“Never, and I never would,” Collins responded. “I am pro-life. My wife and I are devoutly Catholic.”

Former Missouri GOP Chair Ann Wagner also interviewed with SBA and said being pro-life was “part of the fabric of who I am,” adding, “It’s how I was raised.”

The candidates are vying to face current chairman Michael Steele who is pro-life but got himself in hot water on abortion. His record has prompted a handful of candidates to declare they will challenge Steele when the 168 members of the RNC’s leadership board vote for a new chairman. Still, he has announced he will seek a second term.

Yesterday, pro-life attorney Jim Bopp, a prominent conservative on the RNC, endorsed Priebus.

The SBA List and a coalition of like-minded groups plan to mobilize half a million activists to lobby voting members of the Republican National Committee (RNC) to elect a pro-life chairman in the January voting.

They see the process as crucial to the effort to defeat pro-abortion President Barack Obama in 2012 as the new national Republican Party chairman will head the party’s fundraising and voter turnout efforts that could make the difference in the outcome of the race.