Tim Pawlenty: I Would Sign Ban on Planned Parenthood Funding

Politics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 7, 2011   |   3:18PM   |   Washington, DC

In a radio interview today, Governor Tim Pawlenty weighed in on one of the top priorities for the pro-life community by saying he would, if elected president, sign a ban on taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood.

Pawlenty’s position stands in contrast with that pro-abortion President Barack Obama, who said he would not sign a bill the House approved earlier this year to revoke taxpayer funding for the abortion business and who resisted appeals from pro-life Speaker John Boehner to include a provision de-funding Planned Parenthood in the budget bill Congress approved several weeks ago.

The former Minnesota governor and GOP presidential hopeful interviewed on the Jordan Sekulow show and the host, and son of the founder and Chief Counsel for the ACLJ, a leading pro-life law firm, asked him, “If you were president and Congress would pass a law in the House and Senate to de-fund Planned Parenthood, would you sign the law?”

“Yes,” Pawlenty responded, adding, “I have been strongly pro-life. In fact, the National Review Online, which is of course a conservative publication, did an article about the 2012 candidates and the headline was — the point of the article was — that, based on results and not just rhetoric, I’m the most pro-life candidate running in the race.”

“And so I don’t think taxpayer money should be used to fund organizations that are involved in performing abortions. I think most Americans would agree with that and I strongly would agree with that and would lead those efforts,” Pawlenty said about the bill.

“Beyond that, I’ve got a record of results in this area in Minnesota — having proposed and signed a Women’s Right to Know bill, having proposed and signed legislation on positive alternatives to abortion, a fetal pain bill, and much more,” Pawlenty explained. “And the pro-life group in Minnesota — the leading one and all the other ones — have said I was the best governor in the modern history of the state on these issues.”

In fact, Scott Fischbach of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life, has said of Pawlenty, “Under the leadership of Gov. Pawlenty, Minnesota now has the lowest teen abortion rate ever, and the lowest number of abortions performed since 1975. I know first-hand the lives that Tim Pawlenty saved as my governor.”

During the Sekulow interview, Pawlenty said these bills were passed in a state with a Democratic-controlled legislation so “it’s not a case of where you’re just rubber stamping the results of a conservative legislature,” as governor. I had to “work with people across the aisles” to cut the number of abortions, he added.

The comments from the Republican presidential candidate follow his pro-life remarks at the Faith and Freedom Conference over the weekend, where he outlined his pro-life views for the conservative Christian voters attending.

“If we’re going to provide a quality of life to our citizens, we need to remember this point. It’s really hard to have a quality of life, unless you have a life. So we need to stand as a conservative movement for protection and respect for life — it’s foundational to our country and everything else,” Pawlenty said on Friday.

During his time as governor, Pawlenty built up a sterling pro-life record and worked closely with Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life to advocate the pro-life position. Following Governor Pawlenty’s two terms, the number of abortions dropped 14 percent and reached a 35-year low. He also opposed the social issues truce on abortion that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels put forward.

“Governor Pawlenty has been a powerful ally of MCCL and the pro-life movement for many years. He strongly supports life-affirming legislation to inform and support pregnant women, who are now feeling empowered to give life to their unborn babies,” says MCCL executive director Scott Fischbach.

He named Eric Magnuson, an attorney who has worked with pro-life groups, the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court and told Minnesota agencies to reject Obamacare, which could fund abortions. He signed the  Woman’s Right to Know Act, which requires informed consent and a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion. The law was the strongest informed consent law in the country at the time, and Minnesota was the first state in the nation to ensure that women be provided with information on the ability of their unborn child to feel pain.

Pawlenty also signed into law the Positive Alternatives program passed by the state legislature in 2005 with the support of pro-life groups. The law, which provides state funding for pregnancy centers that help women with pregnancy support and abortion alternatives, has already proven successful in lowering the number of abortions.

The Minnesota Department of Health shows 13,037 women received services from the Positive Alternatives grant during the second grant cycle of the program, running from July 2008 through June 2010. More than 12,000 pregnant women were helped during the first two-year grant cycle, July 2006-June 2008. The Pawlenty-supported positive alternatives program is credited with dropping Minnesota abortions, in 2009, to the lowest point since 1975.

In April 2010, Pawlenty declared the month as Abortion Recovery/Awareness Month to help women negatively affected by their abortions.

Pawlenty also pleased pro-life advocates on bioethics issues by vetoing the Kahn-Cohen Cloning Bill in May 2008, which would have legalized human cloning and forced taxpayers to pay for the destruction of human life. He also signed, in May 2009, a bill to ban taxpayer funding of human cloning.

“We stand for protecting life and want to promote and celebrate a culture of life in Minnesota and in the United States of America. We stand up for those who have no voice,” Pawlenty has said. “We have a responsibility to defend the life of the innocent and the powerless. We must take it upon ourselves to protect all individuals in every stage of life, from the unborn to the elderly.”

Pawlenty’s track record has won him accolades from pro-life advocates, with Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser saying “The governor’s actions on behalf of Minnesota women and unborn children are exemplary.”