Five of the Republican presidential candidates sounded pro-life themes at the 41st annual National Right to Life convention on Friday in Jacksonville, Florida. With two of the candidates appearing in person and three via Skype connections, each struck a chord with the several hundred pro-life advocates gathered from across the nation.
Herman Cain, the former businessman and candidate, said the “Founding fathers got it right” including the right to life from conception.
Cain spent most of his time talking about the moral crisis and lack of God in the cultural conversations in America, saying, “We’ve got a moral crisis in this nation. One of the reasons we have this moral crisis today is because too many people are trying to take God out of our culture, little by little.”
“Those that believe taking the life of the unborn is a choice has gotten away from the Godly principles,” he said. “The way we’re going to protect the unborn in this nation is to work on the right problem, get God back in our culture.”
Cain said pro-life advocates must change hearts and then minds will follow and he urged pro-life advocates to do more to promote the work of pregnancy centers.
“Let young women know about alternatives to these so-called Planned Parenthood facilities. We have to inform and educate people and let them know about resources like the one in Dallas Texas where I visited called the Source for Women. When young women show up there, the first option isn’t getting an abortion, the first option is counseling to show these young ladies the alternatives to abortion,” he said.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum appeared in person and said he “felt at home” with fellow pro-life advocates.
“You are the warriors out there on an unpopular front that get assailed by those in the media as being everything but what you are. And what you are are people out there every day loving. You love every human being from the moment of conception,” he said. “America has a soul and says that it values every life equally. And we want those people to have the right to life. We have a government that refuses to stand for life.”
He admitted he was once “timid” when it came to pressing for pro-life issues but, over time, he realized that faith and reason went together and he began pushing pro-life themes more vocally.
Santorum railed against Obamacare and said, “Obama fixated on accumulating power in Washington and the worst offender of this is Obamacare with a theme of: Trust us, not you. Will America stand up and fight for inalienable rights given to us by God or just be like the rest of the world?”
He closed with comments about his daughter Bella, who suffers from Trisomy 18, and said, “In her I see how the Creator sees me. I love her unconditionally, not because she did anything but because she is. She is disabled, but in the eyes of God we are badly disabled. I am fighting for every child to ensure their rights continue in America.”
Rep. Michele Bachmann also spoke via Skype and said, “Americans are more than ready to make Barack Obama a one term president. Obama has abandoned some of the most common-sense and long-standing limits on abortion. Obamacare funds abortion even though a majority of Americans oppose such funding. I will repeal Obamacare– you can take that to the bank. I will repeal funding for Planned Parenthood.”
“The nation’s largest provider of abortions should not be getting any federal funding. I have 100% pro-life voting record and will build on it in the White House. I have a 100% record with NRLC and will proudly build on that record in the White House,” Bachmann added.
Bachmann was the only candidate to appear to take on another when she bashed Mitt Romney, though not by name, in saying, “We shouldn’t have a nominee who is weak on abortion or has a record of flip-flopping. Abortion is not a political football that should be carried around. You want someone who is unquestionably pro-life, and I am.”
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty rearranged his schedule to make an appearance before the Right to Life crowd via Skype.
“If we’re going to have a new and better direction for America, were going to need a new and better president,” he said, adding that the National Right to Life theme of “Bringing America Back to Life” was appropriate for the 2012 presidential election.
He said a culture of life has to be reflected in the nations laws and that those laws must protect unborn children. He said he was delighted in the progress the pro-life movement had made in passing laws that have reduced abortions. In Minnesota, laws Pawlenty signed dropped abortions 13 percent to the lowest recorded levels since 1975.
Pawlenty said he pushed for and signed legislation helping women get information about abortion’s risks and fetal development, informing women that unborn children feel pain, and directing women to alternatives to abortion. Pawlenty also said he would be pro-active in pushing for federal legislation to stop taxpayer funding of abortions and any funding for businesses like Planned Parenthood that do abortion.
The lengthy record he compiled, Pawlenty explained, has led some pro-life advocates to conclude he is one of the strongest pro-life Republicans seeking the presidential nomination.
Rep. Ron Paul also spoke to the audience via Skype and said he considers the issue of life and abortion to be the “most important issue of our age.” He called doing abortions a lack of “respect for Life.”
Paul talked about his background as an OBGYN and explained how he met Bernard Nathanson, the former NARAL president who eventually became pro-life on abortion.
He aslso took liberatians like himself but who don’t hold to the pro-life perspective to task saying, “You can’t be a champion of liberty unless you respect life.”
Paul seemed to lose the audience when he talked about states’ rights and said abortion shouldn’t become a national issue — appearing to leave the door open to states making the decision to keep abortions legal.