Activists Praise Jon Huntsman’s Pro-Life Views, Record

Politics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 10, 2012   |   1:37PM   |   Washington, DC

Jon Huntsman’s pro-life views and record received praise from two pro-life advocates who told the National Catholic Register that the former Utah governor is someone pro-life voters could support if he wins the GOP nomination.

Huntsman signed a trio of pro-life bills in February 2009 that the Utah legislature approved — including legislation to make second-trimester abortions illegal, a measure to allow women to know about the pain their unborn children will feel during an abortion, and a bill that would create a legal defense fund to pay for litigation related to lawsuit abortions advocates file against state legislation.

“As governor of Utah I signed every pro-life bill that came to my desk,” Hunstman told the Faith and Freedom Conference in June. “I signed the bill that made second-trimester abortions illegal, and increased the penalty for doing so. I signed the bill to allow women to know the pain an abortion causes an unborn child. I signed the bill requiring parental permission for abortion. I signed the bill that would trigger a ban on abortions in Utah if Roe v. Wade was overturned.”

Rob Wasinger, a former chief of staff and presidential campaign manager for Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and the deputy campaign manager for Huntsman, told the National Catholic Register, “His record on pro-life issues is second to none.”

“He has said he would reinstate the Mexico City Policy and would veto a budget if it had funding for Planned Parenthood,” Wasinger added.

David O’Steen, executive director of the National Right to Life Committee, also praised Huntsman’s record in the NCR interview, saying, “Huntsman, like all the Republican candidates, is pro-life; and what is important is for pro-lifers to be united and make sure whoever wins the nomination will defeat Barack Obama.”

NCR also touches on the concerns some pro-life advocates have had about Huntsman’s position on embryonic stem cell research:
On the related issue of funding for embryonic stem-cell research, Huntsman has staked out a position that runs contrary to Catholic teaching and is not acceptable to most social conservatives. Wasinger said the candidate’s stance was “modeled on the Bush” policy, referring to former President George W. Bush’s Aug. 9, 2001, decision to fund embryonic stem-cell research using cells derived from embryos prior to that date. Huntsman opposes funding for embryonic stem-cell research in most instances. But, he would permit such research with stem cells from what he regards as discarded embryos.

In June, Huntsman’s campaign confirmed his opposition to embryonic stem cell research. contacted the Huntsman campaign and spokesman Tim Miller says the former governor takes a pro-life position.

“Jon Huntsman is a passionate supporter of stem cell research which is leading to new discoveries that will improve and lengthen the lives of many Americans,” Miller said.

“He supports federal funding for lines that have a demonstrated history of success — adult stem cells, non-embryonic stem-cells and certain types of embryonic stem cell research. Gov. Huntsman opposes federal funding for new lines that would do harm to embryos,” Miller added.

Huntsman has not signed the pledge the Susan B. Anthony List put forward that has other GOP candidates committed to supporting legislation that would revoke federal taxpayer funding from the Planned Parenthood abortion business. Instead, he says he would go further — by pledging to veto any federal budget containing Planned Parenthood funding.

NCR summarises Huntsman’s record and views this way:  “Though Huntsman refused to sign the Susan B. Anthony List’s Pro-Life Pledge for presidential candidates, saying he doesn’t sign pledges, he has a pro-life record and has publicly rejected the notion that Republicans should soft-pedal the abortion issue in 2012.”

Huntsman has also lived out his pro-life views in that he has seven children, two of whom were from international adoptions. He shared the story with the conference participants.

In 1999, the Huntsman family adopted Gracie Mei from Yangzhou, China. She was a little girl who had been abandoned in a vegetable market. The path to adoption began when Huntsman’s wife Mary Kaye volunteered in a Catholic orphanage while they were living in Tien Mu, Taiwan. After they returned to the U.S., Mary Kaye continued to research adoptions and convinced Jon to start the process.

While attending a Christmas tree benefit auction she bought a tree dedicated to adoption. When the vendor asked her what to name it, her kids suggested the name for the new sister they hoped to someday have, Gracie Mei. Mary Kaye told the vendor that name at 8:15 p.m. and, when the Huntsman family returned home, there was a message received at 8:15  p.m. from the adoption agency notifying the family they had a found a child for the family.

“Gracie Mei likes to tell that story and when asked who found her in the vegetable market, she simply replies Jesus,” said Huntsman to “awws” and applause. He continued, “There is something more essential than politics and that is life, specifically a child’s life.”

“I can’t imagine how much poorer the world would be without Gracie and her younger sister Asha, who’s adopted from India. … [My wife] Mary Kay and I give thanks to those two mothers … for valuing their daughters lives enough so they could become our daughters,” he said.

The Huntsmans also adopted Asha Bharati from Gujarat, India in 2006.