Let’s start with an article from Stand to Reason which explains what pro-life politicians should sound like. (H/T Drew)
Why are major pro-life presidential candidates so bad at answering for the pro-life position?
During the 1992 race, vice-presidential candidates Gore and Quayle went face to face. Quayle fumbled badly when Gore asked him directly, “Would you take away a woman’s right to choose abortion?” Here was a great chance to bring some moral clarity to the discussion. Instead, he babbled.
Mr. Quayle might have simply answered: I think the question is phrased wrong. Rather, “Why do you think it’s OK to kill an innocent human being just because it’s in the way and can’t defend itself?” If Al Gore objected to that characterization, it would be very fair to say, “Which one of my terms is inaccurate? Kill? Innocent? Human being? Defenseless? In the way? (Maybe you’d prefer “troublesome,” “expensive,” or just simply “crippled”?)
The most recent squandered opportunity came last night. (Alan Keyes went on a hunger strike. Maybe if that doesn’t work he’ll just hold his breath until he turns blue. That’ll really show ’em.)
“If a woman was brutally raped and would be emotionally traumatized by carrying to term, would you allow her to have an abortion, or would you force her to have the child?”
This is a perfect forum for clarifying this issue, an ideal opportunity for a leader to offer clearheaded advocacy for the unborn, a terrific time to clear the rhetoric from the air and get to the real issue.
The simple answer is: Why complicate the crime of rape with the crime of taking an innocent child’s life? Or, to put it another way: Why should the child pay with its life because its father is a rapist? (This is even a better response because it asks a question.)
Greg was writing this in 1996, but we do actually have several pro-life candidates this time, and one of them, Rick Santorum, is actually pretty articulate on social issues.
As a member of the U.S. Senate from 1995 until 2007, Santorum was the prime author and champion of key pro-life bills, including the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, a ban on partial-birth abortion, and the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which makes it a separate crime if an unborn child is harmed or killed during the commission of a stipulated list of federal crimes.
Santorum not only has signed the Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life Presidential Pledge, but he has helped raise money for that organization, too.
Santorum believes that abortion is never justified, including in cases of rape or incest. During a Republican presidential debate last summer in Ames, Iowa, when panelist Byron York noted that many Americans favor abortion under certain circumstances, Santorum didn’t flinch or back off from his uncompromising position.
“You know, the Supreme Court of the United States, in a recent case, said that a man who committed rape could not be killed, would not be subjected to the death penalty; yet the child conceived as a result of that rape could be,” he said. “That sounds to me like a country that doesn’t have its morals correct. That child did nothing wrong. That child is an innocent victim.”
Rick Santorum actually tries to convince you if you don’t see things his way on social issues. I think there are two candidates who would be pro-life activists if they were elected – Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum. But I have more confidence in Santorum’s ability to persuade people who are not already pro-life to be sympathetic to the pro-life view. He can build consensus, because he is a pro-life apologist, rather than just being pro-life. Rick Santorum is doing exactly what Greg Koukl said that real pro-lifers do.
Now let’s take take a look at Mitt Romney’s record on abortion.
Two months after his pro-life conversion, Mitt Romney appointed Matthew Nestor to the bench in Massachusetts. Romney seeming bowed to political pressure making Nestor a judge even after Nestor, according to the Boston Globe as far back as 1994, had campaigned for political office championing his pro-abortion views.
One year after his pro-life conversion, in July of 2005, Mitt Romney vetoed legislation that would expand the use of the morning after pill arguing that it would contribute to abortions. But just three months later Mitt Romney slid back and signed a bill that expanded state subsidized access to the morning after pill.
Writing in the Boston Globe on October 15, 2005, Stephanie Ebbert noted:
Governor Mitt Romney has signed a bill that could expand the number of people who get family-planning services, including the morning-after pill, confusing some abortion and contraception foes who had been heartened by his earlier veto of an emergency contraception bill. … The services include the distribution of condoms, abortion counseling, and the distribution of emergency contraception, or morning after pills, by prescription …
But that’s nothing. Two whole years after the pro-life view had settled into Mitt Romney’s conscience and a year after Mitt Romney had vetoed legislation expanding access to the morning after pill, he expanded access to abortion and gave Planned Parenthood new rights under state law. Yes, that Planned Parenthood.
[Romneycare], in addition to providing healthcare coverage for the uninsured and forcing everyone to have insurance, expanded abortion services in the State of Massachusetts. It also required that one member of the MassHealth Payment Policy Board be appointed by Planned Parenthood of Massachusetts.
From Chapter 58 of the Acts of 2006:
SECTION 3. Chapter 6A of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 16I the following 6 sections: . . . Section 16M. (a) There shall be a MassHealth payment policy advisory board. The board shall consist of the secretary of health and human services or his designee, who shall serve as chair, the commissioner of health care financing and policy, and 12 other members: … 1 member appointed by Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts … (Massachusetts General Court Website, http://www.mass.gov, Accessed 2/5/07)
That’s an example of Mitt Romney’s record on abortion. Those are the facts on Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney when it comes to abortion.
Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum on abortion – in their own words
We’ve already seen that Santorum has the pro-life record and Romney has the pro-abortion record. So now let’s compare Mitt Romney in his own words with Rick Santorum in his own words.
Just to be clear, if you are a pure social conservative, there here is the candidate ranking for you:
- Rick Santorum
- Michele Bachmann
- Newt Gingrich
- Rick Perry
- Ron Paul
- John Huntsman
- Mitt Romney
Social conservatives need to vote for a candidate that has a pro-life record, not just pro-life rhetoric and a charming smile.