Republican Candidates Tout Pro-Life Views in Palmetto Forum

Politics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 5, 2011   |   5:31PM   |   Columbia, SC

During today’s Republican presidential forum, each of the Republican presidential candidates who attended sounded pro-life themes on issues ranging from overturning Roe v. Wade to challenging the dominance of the Supreme Court to naming a pro-life running mate.

Michele Bachmann, the Minnesota congresswoman, was the first to face questions from the panel and she committed herself to naming a “pro-life” running mate if she becomes the Republican nominee, saying she would “absolutely” do so.

Herman Cain, the businessman and the only African-American candidate in the race, also said he would “absolutely” name a pro-life running mate and he told Princeton law professor Robby George that he would support legislation from Congress challenging the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction on abortion. Bachmann supported that idea as well saying she would “assuredly” back such a bill.

The next candidate facing the panel was Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House, and he also agreed with supporting legislation to challenge the Supreme Court on abortion, saying, “We’re going to have a big fight with the lawyer class” and added Congress should being “a systematic process” to eliminate courts ability to review certain issues.

However, Congressman Ron Paul, a libertarian Republican, became the first candidate to disagree with George and he essentially put forward the view that states should have the determination on abortion rather than Congress or the Supreme Court. When Professor George asked Paul a followup question about shifting abortion to Congress if some states failed to provide legal protection for the unborn, the two-time Republican presidential candidate¬† likened abortion law to laws against homicide or assault — saying that abortion should be prohibited by the states in the same manner.

Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, was the final candidate in the forum and he said he would be selecting a pro-life running mate as well.

“I certainly imagine so, I haven’t made any selections in that regard,” he said. “I don’t have any names for you today,” he said adding “I think it’s kind of presumptuous,” for candidates to be considering potential running mates at this stage of the presidential race.

“The person I would select would share my views,” Romney added. “I would expect that they would all be pro-life” he said of a potential vice-presidential short list.

Romney took the position on the Roe v. Wade question he was asked that Roe should be overturned and he said he favored the Supreme Court reversing itself on the decision. In the 2008 elections, Romney favored reversing Roe and said he would support a Human Life Amendment as a followup step.

George also asked Romney a question about conscience clauses and abortion and highlighted the concern that the Obama administration had repealed protections the Bush administration put in place for medical workers who don’t want to be involved in or refer for abortions.

“I’m not one of those who says get rid of the conscience clause and force people to do something against their faith,” he said. He responded, “absolutely,” when asked if he would restore the protections as president, saying, “We have to allow people to practice their faith.”

Rick Perry, the pro-life Texas governor, was slated to attend the event but pulled out at the last minute to return to Texas and help those battling wildfires. Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani declined invitations to attend.