Rick Perry Signs Pro-Life Pledge on Abortion, Judges

Politics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 24, 2011   |   10:16AM   |   Washington, DC

Texas Governor Rick Perry, who entered the GOP presidential race less than two weeks ago, is the latest Republican presidential candidate to sign a pro-life pledge put forward by the Susan B. Anthony List on abortion and judges.

The pledge has the candidates promising to support only judicial nominees who won’t interpret the Constitution in a way that supports Roe v. Wade, select pro-life Cabinet members on positions affecting abortion policy, supporting legislation to stop taxpayer funding of abortions and Planned Parenthood, and to support a fetal pain bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

“I not only pledge to protect unborn life, but have a record of doing so in Texas,” Perry said in signing the pledge. “I have signed legislation requiring parental consent for a minor to obtain an abortion, and have long advocated adoption as an alternative to abortion in order to protect unborn children.”

SBA List president Marjorie Dannenfelser said in response: “Governor Perry has been a long-time friend of, and leader for, the pro-life community. His signature on our pledge is more than welcome and we applaud him for his commitment to continue to fight for women and unborn children.”

Perry joins Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Thad McCotter, and Newt Gingrich in signing the pledge. Governor Tim Pawlenty signed the pledge as well before dropping out of the Republican presidential race. Though they are running on pro-life platforms, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Gary Johnson, and Jon Huntsman declined to sign the pledge.

The pledge has the candidates agreeing to the following:

FIRST, to nominate to the U.S. federal bench judges who are committed to restraint and applying the original meaning of the Constitution, not legislating from the bench;

SECOND, to select only pro-life appointees for relevant Cabinet and Executive Branch positions, in particular the head of National Institutes of Health, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Health & Human Services;

THIRD, to advance pro-life legislation to permanently end all taxpayer funding of abortion in all domestic and international spending programs, and defund Planned Parenthood and all other contractors and recipients of federal funds with affiliates that perform or fund abortions;

FOURTH, advance and sign into law a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion.

“The purpose of the pledge is to give the Presidential candidates a clear picture of what is expected should they be elected to the White House and to also give voters an understanding of exactly which candidates are willing to be a trusted leader on such an important issue,” said Dannenfelser.  “Governor Perry has a proven track record as just such a leader on the state level and has now committed to continuing that leadership at the federal level.”

Romney did not sign the pledge and his officials said it was because he worried the de-funding legislation would also revoke funding for hospitals, though the legislation currently pending in Congress does not do so. He also said the pledge is “overly broad and would have unintended consequences.”

Romney also released a pro-life statement of position at National Review saying he is pro-life and essentially committing to much of the same pro-life initiatives the SBA List outlined in its pledge.

Cain has released his own statement on why not, saying he can’t advance the pro-life bills de-funding Planned Parenthood as a member of Congress, though he could certainly employ the bully pulpit of the presidency to do so. And Huntsman also asserted his pro-life views in not signing the pledge.