This article first appeared online at the Wall Street Journal on June 17, 2011.
Anti-Abortion Group Calls Out Romney, Cain
A prominent group of abortion rights opponents called out former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former restaurant executive Herman Cain on Friday for failing to sign an antiabortion pledge.
The pledge calls on each of the Republicans running for the White House to promise to pick only abortion rights opponents for cabinet and high-level administration posts and to nominate judges who adhere to what the group sees as a strict interpretation of the Constitution.
Signing the pledge were Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
“We applaud those candidates who did sign the pledge for vowing to support and advance the protection of life at all stages,” said Marilyn Musgrave, a former Republican congresswoman from Colorado and the policy director for the Susan B. Anthony List.
The pledge also calls on candidates to vow to advance legislation that would deny funds to Planned Parenthood and organizations or contractors that perform or fund abortions.
The issue is particularly sensitive for Mr. Romney, who was supportive of abortion rights earlier in his political career.
“Mitt Romney pledged in the last campaign that he would be a pro-life president, and, of course, he pledges it today,” Romney spokeswoman Gail Gitcho said.
Ms. Gitcho said the “well-intentioned” pledge has “some potentially unforeseen consequences” and could result in promising to “strip taxpayer funding from thousands of health-care facilities, including (Veterans Administration) hospitals around the country.”
The Romney camp further argues that the pledge would impose strict limits on who a candidate could hire and fire.
“Mitt Romney will appoint judges who will faithfully interpret the Constitution and not legislate from the bench,” Ms. Gitcho said. “The bottom line is that Gov. Romney is firmly pro-life.”