CNN: Romney team explains refusal to sign anti-abortion pledge

This post first appeared online at CNN's Politicalticker on June 17, 2011.

Romney team explains refusal to sign anti-abortion pledge 
By Peter Hamby

New Orleans, Louisiana (CNN)
– Mitt Romney's presidential campaign is explaining his decision not to sign a tough anti-abortion pledge supported by most of the candidates in the Republican field.

The anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List announced Friday that Republican candidates Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul have signed its Pro-Life Leadership Presidential Pledge.

The group, though, made a point of highlighting Romney’s refusal to sign the pledge.

The pledge would require the candidates, if elected, to "permanently end all taxpayer funding of abortion," defund Planned Parenthood, and appoint abortion opponents to the federal bench and Cabinet positions.

Romney’s campaign re-affirmed his opposition to abortion rights and called the pledge “well-intentioned.”

But Gail Gitcho, a spokeswoman for the former Massachusetts governor, said the document has “some potentially unforeseen consequences and he does not feel he could in good conscience sign it.”

“The pledge calls for legislation to strip taxpayer funding from thousands of health care facilities, including VA hospitals around the country, and strictly limits the choices a President would have to appoint federal officials,” Gitcho told CNN in an email.

She added, “Mitt Romney will appoint judges who will faithfully interpret the constitution and not legislate from the bench.”

“The bottom line is that Governor Romney is firmly pro-life,” Gitcho said

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