Which candidates are pro-life?
RNC for Life REPORT
A Publication of the Republican National Coalition for Life WINTER 2007 — No. 62
Will the Republican Nominee Respect Us in the Morning? -- Winter 2007 (PDF)

Will the Republican Nominee Respect Us in the Morning? 
(The morning after the 2008 Republican National Convention, that is)

Pro-life Republicans are being wined and dined, courted and wooed by an ever-growing assortment of candidates for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination. They all want us to think they are pro-life, or at least pro-life enough to garner our support in this or that presidential primary. Those who are flipping and flopping serve as testimony to the power and influence pro-life activists have within the Republican Party. They need us. They need us to win the nomination and, because the American people are split right down the middle, they need us to win back the White House.

While it's nice to know we're needed, and that finally the establishment politicians have been forced to recognize that, let's be careful to not get carried away.

There are a few true-blue pro-lifers seeking the Republican nomination, and there are others who will say what they have to say to get where they want to go. We have to let them know that we are not interested in platitudes. We want to know what they are actually going to DO to advance the cause of life.

The case of Senator John McCain comes to mind. Senator McCain, who justifies abortion for babies conceived through rape or incest and who supports research that requires the killing of human embryos, visited South Carolina on Sunday, February 18, where he told a crowd of 800 in Spartanburg, "I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned." (The Dallas Morning News, 2/19/07) His PR people made certain that that quote appeared in news items across the country.

The February 20, 2007 USA Today editorial had this to say:

The three Republican front runners — former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — have at various times held positions at odds with conservative orthodoxy. All three are adjusting those positions now, generating what might be called "that giant sucking-up sound."

As a candidate for mayor of New York, Giuliani embraced abortion rights. Now he promises to appoint "strict constructionist" justices to the Supreme Court, who would presumably be more likely to overturn Roe v. Wade.

When running for president in 2000, McCain said that if Roe were overturned, thousands of women would have illegal and dangerous abortions. Now he says he wants it overturned.

In an unsuccessful 1994 bid for the Senate in Massachusetts, Romney went out of his way to court gay voters and to tout his pro-choice positions. After his election as governor in 2002, his positions began to shift. Now he says that Roe should be overturned and that he no longer supports anti-discrimination legislation directed at gays and lesbians.

These inelegant shifts pose an interesting question for Republican primary voters: Just who are they voting for — the politicians these candidates say they will be or the ones they have actually been?

Our job at RNC/Life is to help you answer that question.

When politicians get in front of a largely pro-life audience, opposition to Roe v. Wade is a very big button to push. After all, the consultants tell them if you say you want to see Roe overturned they'll assume you are pro-life. The fact is, Senator McCain's position on life issues cannot be accurately described as pro-life. It is inconsistent with the stated principles in the pro-life plank of the Republican National Platform, which says in part, "The unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed."

  • We are about respecting and protecting every innocent unborn child, no matter what the circumstances of his or her conception.

  • The right to life is fundamental and individual, yet Senator McCain, Mitt Romney, and others who support killing human embryos for research would infringe on that right.

If the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade it would remove from the federal courts the ability to interfere with state laws restricting and regulating the practice of abortion, and that would be a good thing, but it would not stop one abortion. It would, however, restore to state legislatures the power to enact laws prohibiting abortion. The pro-life movement in every state would then have to embark upon a long road leading to that goal. The federal role in the pro-life battle would change as we would ask Congress to use its spending power to exclude abortion and those who perform or advocate it, from every federally funded program. Of course, this would require a majority of committed pro-life Members of Congress.

Politicians who advocate that Roe be overturned but support the killing of human beings at the embryonic stage of development are simply playing games with pro-life voters. Politicians who claim to be pro-life, but justify abortion for some babies under some circumstances, are simply telling the wealthy pro-abortion wing of the Republican Party that they can be comfortable opening their coffers to them, since their candidacy represents no concrete threat to legal abortion.

For a presidential candidate, to be pro-life is to pledge that he will work for laws and public policies that result in restoring respect for, and legal protection of, innocent human beings from the moment of conception. It is to actively engage in moving our society toward restoring personhood to the unborn. It means a commitment to prohibit embryonic stem cell research and experiments in human cloning. It means there is no way to justify the killing of an innocent child, no matter how small.

So, when the politicians come knocking at your door, remember to ask the hard questions. Don't accept the cop-out that it's all about overturning Roe, or that it's all about the appointment of judges. Those concerns represent key elements within our great and noble cause, but there is much more. What we must look for is a nominee who has demonstrated a commitment to the pro-life cause and has shown that he, as President of the United States, has the resolve to work diligently, using every power available to him, to restore legal protection of the right to life.

There will be pro-life voters who choose to support a candidate who falls short of that mark. We ask only one thing of them — please don't call him "prolife" — and don't expect him to answer your phone calls the morning after the primary.


2008 Presidential Candidates' Positions on Life Issues 
(Listed Alphabetically)

SAM BROWNBACK Senator Brownback is the pro-life leader in the U.S. Senate. He has sponsored numerous pro-life bills including the Human Cloning Prohibition Act, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, and the Assisted Suicide Prevention Act. He has held hearings on life issues, among them the Impact of Abortion on Women. Senator Brownback is a sincere and dedicated champion of the right to life from conception.

JIM GILMORE A former Governor of Virginia, Jim Gilmore supports legal abortion until the 13th week of gestation (the first trimester), and in cases of rape or incest. He has supported an informed consent law and a 24-hour waiting period for abortion.

NEWT GINGRICH His book, "Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America" said virtually nothing about abortion. John Lofton, who interviewed Gingrich for American View asked, "Do you think abortion should be a crime?" Gingrich answered tepidly, "I think that abortion should not be legal, and I think that how you would implement that I'm not sure."

RUDOLPH GIULIANI "I'm pro-choice. I'm pro-gay rights," Giuliani said. He was then asked whether he supports a ban on what critics call partial-birth abortion. "No, I have not supported that, and I don't see my position on that changing," he responded. — CNN.com, "Inside Politics" Dec. 2, 1999. Now that he is running for president he says he would support it, but only if it has a life-of-the-mother exception, (Hannity & Colmes, 2/5/07) even though there is clear evidence that killing a baby during delivery by stabbing him in the back of the neck and sucking out his brains is never medically necessary.

In a 1989 conversation with Phil Donahue, Giuliani said he would "uphold a woman's right of choice," and "oppose going back to a day in which abortions were illegal." When Donahue asked what advice he would give his daughter if she became pregnant, he said . . . "if the ultimate choice of the woman — my daughter or any other woman — would be that in this particular circumstance she had to have an abortion, I'd support that. I'd give my daughter the money for it."


MIKE HUCKABEE The former Governor of Arkansas thinks abortion should be legal when the life of the woman is endangered. He would eliminate public funding for abortions and public funding of organizations that advocate or perform abortions. He supports "A Woman's Right to Know" legislation.


DUNCAN HUNTER Rep. Hunter is a committed pro-lifer and chief sponsor of the Right To Life Act (H.R. 618) to extend Fourteenth Amendment protection to the unborn child. He is now serving his 14th term as Congressman from the 52nd District of California.

In an interview with Human Events (12/4/06) Rep. Hunter was asked, "What would you do about abortion if you were President?" He responded, "I'd do everything I could to work toward doing everything we could to eliminate abortion." When asked, "What sort of people would you name to the United States Supreme Court?" he answered, "I would name people who have a sensitivity toward human life."


JOHN McCAIN Sen. McCain has voted to restrict or regulate the practice of abortion but, although he says Roe v. Wade should be overturned, he supports abortion in cases of rape and incest and has endorsed legislation that would expand federal funding for research that kills human embryos.


RON PAUL Rep. Paul was the Libertarian Party nominee in 1988. His libertarian views have conflicted with his pro-life stance on many occasions. From 2005 - 2006, Paul had just a 56 percent pro-life voting record as he voted four times against a federal law protecting teenagers from being taken to other states for secret abortions in violation of the parental notification or consent laws of their home state. In previous years, Mr. Paul had a 73 percent, 81 percent, and 79 percent voting record going back to 1999, according to the National Right to Life Committee. He doesn't think federal law should cover abortion issues. He opposes using taxpayer funding for both embryonic and non-embryonic stem cell research. (LIFENEWS.com)


MITT ROMNEY Mitt Romney ran against Ted Kennedy for the U.S. Senate in 1994 as a pro-choice candidate. As a candidate for Governor in 2002, he answered Planned Parenthood and NARAL questionnaires saying he supported "the substance of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade" and, "I respect and will protect a woman's right to choose . . . Women should be free to choose based on their own beliefs, not mine and not the government's." (The Weekly Standard, 2/5/07) Now that he is running for President, Mr. Romney would like us to believe that, after 34 years of legal abortion in this country and an entire political career as an enthusiastic pro-choicer, he has just seen the light and is now "pro-life."

Romney supports killing human embryos left over from IVF treatments for research purposes as long as the parents give their consent.


TOM TANCREDO Although he is best known among conservatives for his leadership on immigration policy, Congressman Tancredo is solidly pro-life. NARAL gives him a 0% score on legislation related to life issues. (http://www.issues2000.org/House/Tom_Tancredo.htm) His website says this: "Throughout my public career I have always maintained a deeply held conviction that abortion compromises the sanctity of human life. Tragically, our nation has ignored our founding principle that all individuals have a right to life and in doing so has failed to protect the most vulnerable among us, unborn boys and girls. I do not support federal funds going to Planned Parenthood or any other organization that promotes abortion. I will continue to do everything in my power to protect the defenseless, and to end the practice of abortion." (http://tancredo.house.gov/issues)


TOMMY THOMPSON The former Governor of Wisconsin and Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Bush administration, Tommy Thompson supports abortion in cases of rape and incest, and endorses embryonic stem cell research, while claiming to be "pro-life."


Abortion is the direct and intentional killing of an unborn baby. It cannot be justified. Politicians who say they are "pro-life" with exceptions for babies conceived through rape or incest are simply saying they want abortion to remain legal. The exception makes the rule.

Republican National Coalition for Life    Box 618    Alton    Illinois 62002
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