Pro-Life Group’s Scorecard Covers GOP Presidential Candidates

Politics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 7, 2011   |   11:34AM   |   Washington, DC

A top pro-life political group has released a new scorecard that ranks the Republican presidential candidates on four key issues related to abortion and notes whether they signed a pro-life pledge.

The Susan B. Anthony List announced its new voter’s guide today and released it at the Values Voter Summit sponsored by the Family Research Council and other pro-life groups that features more than 2,000 pro-life advocates participating in Washington.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life women’s group, explained the guide is designed to give Values Voter straw poll goers the information necessary to vote for the Republican Presidential candidate who is most in-line with the pro-life movement and the issues most important to their cause.

“Priority number one for the pro-life movement is defeating President Obama and replacing him with a pro-life president committed to advancing laws that will save lives,” said Dannenfelser. “Our goal is to ensure that Values Voter attendees know which candidates have made the commitment to be a pro-life leader in the White House, and where they stand on key priorities of the pro-life movement.”

The scorecard lists where the candidates stand on four pro-life issues:

JUDGES:Will 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.

APPOINTEES: Will 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.

ENDING TAXPAYER FUNDING OF ABORTION: Will 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.

FETAL PAIN LEGISLATION: Will advance and sign into law a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion.

Several of the Republican candidates are indicated as supporting all four of the pro-life goals, including Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum. However, the SBA List points out that Herman Cain and Mitt Romney — two of the leading Republican presidential candidates in the polls today — did not sign the pro-life pledge the group put forward despite their pro-life views.

As a result, Cain and Romney are not listed as supporting each of the four pro-life goals — with Cain said to be opposed to advancing pro-life legislation related to fetal pain and Romney said to be opposed to agreeing that all top appointees in his potential presidential administration take a pro-life view on abortion.

Cain previously reaffirmed his pro-life views in a statement LifeNews reported on in June, saying he is strongly pro-life despite not signing the SBA List pledge.

“I support right-to-life issues unequivocally and I adamantly support the first three aspects of the Susan B. Anthony pledge involving appointing pro-life judges, choosing pro-life cabinet members, and ending taxpayer-funded abortions,” Cain said in a statement. “However, the fourth requirement demands that I ‘advance’ the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. As president, I would sign it, but Congress must advance the legislation.”

“I have been a consistent and unwavering champion of pro life issues,” Cain added. “In no way does this singular instance of clarification denote an abandonment of the pro-life movement, but instead, is a testament to my respect for the balance of power and the role of the presidency.”

The statement seems somewhat nuanced, in that while Cain, as president, couldn’t “advance” pro-life legislation through Congress, but he can undoubtedly use the power of the bully pulpit the presidency affords to persuade members of the House and Senate to advance the bill.

Romney also asserted his own pro-life views despite not signing the SBA List pledge.

Responding for Romney, spokeswoman Andrea Saul told LifeNews, “Governor Romney pledged in the last campaign that he would be a pro-life president and of course he pledges it today.”

“However, this well intentioned effort has some potentially unforeseen consequences and he does not feel he could in good conscience sign it. Gov. Romney has been a strong supporter of the SBA List in the past and he looks forward to continue working with them to promote a culture of life,” she said. “The pledge calls for legislation to strip taxpayer funding from hospitals around the country, and strictly limits the choices a President would have to appoint cabinet members.”

Later, Romney pushed an opinion column at National Review outlining his pro-life stances on various key issues voters are considering in selecting a Republican nominee to replace pro-abortion President Barack Obama.

“I am pro-life and believe that abortion should be limited to only instances of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother. I support the reversal of Roe v. Wade, because it is bad law and bad medicine. Roe was a misguided ruling that was a result of a small group of activist federal judges legislating from the bench,” he said. “I support the Hyde Amendment, which broadly bars the use of federal funds for abortions. And as president, I will support efforts to prohibit federal funding for any organization like Planned Parenthood, which primarily performs abortions or offers abortion-related services.”

“I will reinstate the Mexico City Policy to ensure that nongovernmental organizations that receive funding from America refrain from performing or promoting abortion services, as a method of family planning, in other countries.  This includes ending American funding for any United Nations or other foreign assistance program that promotes or performs abortions on women around the world,” Romney added. “I will advocate for and support a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion.”

“And perhaps most importantly, I will only appoint judges who adhere to the Constitution and the laws as they are written, not as they want them to be written,” Romney added.

“As much as I share the goals of the Susan B. Anthony List, its well-meaning pledge is overly broad and would have unintended consequences. That is why I could not sign it. It is one thing to end federal funding for an organization like Planned Parenthood; it is entirely another to end all federal funding for thousands of hospitals across America. That is precisely what the pledge would demand and require of a president who signed it,” he concluded. “The pledge also unduly burdens a president’s ability to appoint the most qualified individuals to a broad array of key positions in the federal government. I would expect every one of my appointees to carry out my policies on abortion and every other issue, irrespective of their personal views. If I have the opportunity to serve as our nation’s next president, I commit to doing everything in my power to cultivate, promote, and support a culture of life in America.”