Huntsman Takes Heat for Not Signing Pro-Life Pledge, Hits Back

Politics   Steven Ertelt   Jun 30, 2011   |   11:08AM    Washington, DC

Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman has officially missed the deadline the pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony List gave him to join five other GOP presidential candidates in sighing a pro-life pledge on abortion.

The pledge commits the signers to nominating Constitutional judges who will not legislate from the bench, supporting efforts to de-fund abortion and the Planned Parenthood abortion business, and pushing a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks based on the scientific evidence showing unborn children feel pain.

SBA List officials told LifeNews that Huntsman is now officially the fourth candidate to decline to sign the Pro-Life Presidential Leadership Pledge, after the deadline for his signature passed on Wednesday.

“It is extremely disappointing to see another candidate who is running on a pro-life message refuse to sign the promise to voters that he will act as a leader for our movement if elected to the White House,” said SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser.

Huntsman, who has a pro-life record, said publicly not long after announcing his candidacy that he does “not sign pledges,” an explanation Dannenfelser says “is not sitting well with pro-life Americans.

“In order to become President of the United States one has to take the pledge of all pledges: the Presidential oath of office,” Dannenfelser explained.  “So really, Huntsman does take pledges, just not the kind which address specific issues he will face if elected President.”

“There is a groundswell of support from the pro-life grassroots for the Presidential Pledge. So much so that our Citizen’s Pledge – signed by voters who vow to only vote for a presidential candidate who has signed the Presidential Pledge – garnered 10,000 signatures in its first week.  We certainly hope those candidate who have not signed take a good look at that growing number,’ Dannenfelser added.

The Huntsman campaign quickly responded to the comments from SBA, saying Huntsman doesn’t need to sign a pledge to be pro-life.

“Recently, the Susan B. Anthony List has criticized Jon Huntsman because he won’t sign their pledge,” the campaign said. “The truth is that Jon has said he won’t sign any pledges – from any organization – for one simple reason: Jon’s record is stronger than any words spoken or pledges signed. Throughout Jon’s entire life – both professional and personal – he has always been pro-life and always will be pro-life.”

“As governor, he signed landmark legislation to limit abortion and protect those who cannot protect themselves,” the campaign continued. “HB 90 makes second-trimester abortions illegal and increases the penalty for performing an illegal abortion. HB 222 allows women to learn about the pain an abortion will cause to their unborn child. HB 85 requires parental consent for minors to obtain an abortion.”

“Gov. Huntsman also supported a “trigger” bill that would prohibit abortions in Utah if Roe v. Wade were overturned,” the Huntsman camp said. “Jon’s pro-life values are also reflected in his personal life. Jon and Mary Kaye are the proud parents of seven kids, including two adopted daughters from China and India.”

The Huntsman campaign also recently confirmed that the former governor opposes embryonic stem cell research and forcing taxpayers to fund embryonic stem cell research.

In addition to Huntsman, Governor Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, and Governor Gary Johnson have also not signed the pledge. Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul have all signed it.