Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Jennifer Hartline

6/21/2011 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Defending our first neighbors is where the 'rubber hits the road'

The Susan B. Anthony List 2012 Pro-life Pledge reflects the sort of conviction and authenticity we must demand from any candidate who says they are pro-life, especially one seeking the Presidency.  No longer can the lives of our unborn children be considered merely a "social issue."  We need candidates who will not hesitate to sign on the dotted line that nothing and no one will persuade them to postpone or abandon the fight to protect children in the womb.

The Republican candidates

The Republican candidates

Highlights

By Jennifer Hartline

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/21/2011 (3 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: SBA List, 2012 Pledge, abortion, pro-life, GOP candidates, Jennifer Hartline


WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) - In perhaps the first public test of the GOP candidates' pro-life mettle, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, and Gary Johnson have declined to sign the Pro-Life Pledge sponsored by the Susan B. Anthony List.

SBA List put forth the following pledge and asked the presidential hopefuls to sign it:

-    Only nominate to the U.S. Supreme Court and federal bench judges who are committed to restraint and applying the original meaning of the Constitution, not legislating from the bench;
-    Select pro-life appointees for relevant Cabinet and Executive Branch positions, in particular the head of the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Health & Human Services, and the Department of Justice;
-    Advance pro-life legislation to permanently end all taxpayer funding of abortion in all domestic and international spending programs, and defund Planned Parenthood and all other contractors and recipients of federal funds with affiliates that perform or fund abortions, and;
-    Advance and sign into law a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion.

Rick Santorum, Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann have all signed the pledge.

The pledge reflects the level of commitment the pro-life community requires from anyone claiming to be pro-life and seeking the nation's highest office.  It's simply not enough for a candidate to say he or she is pro-life; it's not enough to make statements to the press using some pro-life lingo; it's not enough to be pro-life-lite.  No longer can the lives of our unborn children be categorized as a mere "social issue."

The pro-life community in America cannot be played anymore by candidates who say all the right things with just the right amount of zeal in order to win votes.  We need candidates who will not hesitate to sign on the dotted line that nothing and no one will persuade them to postpone or abandon the fight to protect children in the womb.  We need candidates who are not ashamed or reluctant to be known as unequivocally pro-life and are willing to take the heat that comes from the opposition. 

Only those candidates who truly understand our obligation to revere and protect human life from conception to natural death will be willing to endure the hostility and slander they'll get in this pivotal 2012 election.

Is Mitt Romney such a candidate?  Is Herman Cain?  They both expressed concerns about the pledge and gave their reasons for not signing it.  Cain said his reservation was with the 4th part of the pledge:  "The fourth requirement demands that I "advance" the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.  As president, I would sign it, but Congress must advance the legislation.  I have been a consistent and unwavering champion of pro-life issues.  In no way does this singular instance of clarification denote an abandonment of the pro-life movement, but instead, is a testament to my respect for the balance of power and the role of the presidency."

The trouble with Herman Cain is that his fidelity to Life is really an unknown.  He has no voting record to back up or disprove his claim.  He seems genuine and sincere, and I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt.  His qualms with the pledge are, I think, hair-splitting semantics.  The President can certainly lead and in that way help "advance" important legislation.  Of course Congress must write and pass the bill, but the President must lead and provide vision, clarity and commitment.  I'd like to think Cain understands that, so in that case, why not sign the pledge?

The trouble with Mitt Romney is Mitt Romney.  His fidelity to Life can quite legitimately be questioned.  He claims with conviction to be pro-life today, but he very passionately insisted that he was wholeheartedly pro-choice only a few years ago in his previous elections.  So which is it?  Is he playing the pro-life community in order to win some valuable votes?  Or has he genuinely seen the error of his past ways and been truly converted?

Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul gave his reason for not signing the pledge:  "Governor Romney pledged in the last campaign that he would be a pro-life president and of course he pledges it today.  However, this well intentioned effort has some potentially unforeseen consequences and he does not feel he could in good conscience sign it."

What unforeseen consequences?  Romney released his own pro-life pledge at National Review Online where he explained, "It is one thing to end federal funding for an organization like Planned Parenthood; it is entirely another to end all federal funding for thousands of hospitals across America."  He went on to say he believes the pledge "unduly burdens a president's ability to appoint the most qualified individuals to a broad array of key positions in the federal government."

Whether an abortion is done at Planned Parenthood or a local community hospital makes no moral difference.  It should not be funded with taxpayer money, period.  It is not a "medical procedure."  It's the killing of an innocent child.  Why are we paying for it?

Romney's second objection is even more troubling.  Is he implying he wants the freedom to appoint pro-choice cabinet members, say perhaps a pro-choice Secretary of Health & Human Services if that person is the "most qualified" in his mind?  If Romney is truly committed to Life, why would he want to surround himself with people who think killing the child in the womb is a "choice"?  Why is he squeamish about making a commitment to pro-life voters that he will appoint pro-life cabinet members?  The Obama administration has surely demonstrated that such appointees are vital in accomplishing a President's agenda.

Romney said in his statement that he would be committed to building a culture of Life in America, but that is impossible to do if the appointed people in positions of influence and power believe abortion is a "right."  He must know that, so this sounds to me like someone who's hedging his bets. 

This is one of those moments where the rubber meets the road.  When it's crunch time, will Romney put his money where his mouth is and keep his promises to protect our youngest neighbors?  Is it really Life that matters to him, or is it winning the Presidency?  We cannot afford a President who is not unreservedly, unhesitatingly committed to the sanctity of all human life.

It is heartening to know that five of the GOP candidates have signed the SBA List Pledge.  It takes courage to say, in writing, that you will protect unborn children with every means at your disposal, knowing full well there will be a political price to pay.  Yet that is exactly the sort of conviction and authenticity we must demand from any candidate who says they are pro-life, especially one seeking the Presidency.

Thank you Rick Santorum, Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann.

Rick Santorum has responded to Mitt Romney's objections to the pledge over at National Review Online

-----

Jennifer Hartline is a grateful Catholic, a proud Army wife and homeschooling mother of three.  She is a contributing writer for Catholic Online.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2014
Sports:
That sports may always be occasions of human fraternity and growth.
Lay Missionaries: That the Holy Spirit may support the work of the laity who proclaim the Gospel in the poorest countries.



Comments


More U.S.

Deacon Keith Fournier: The Courage of the Catholic Bishops, Religious Liberty, Hobby Lobby and ENDA Watch

Image of Deacon Keith Fournier is Founder and Chairman of Common Good Foundation and Common Good Alliance. A married Roman Catholic Deacon of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, he and his wife Laurine have five grown children and six grandchildren, He serves as the Director of Adult Faith Formation at St. Stephen, Martyr Parish in Chesapeake, VA. He is also a human rights lawyer and public policy advocate. Deacon Fournier is a graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville (Theology and Philosophy, BA), the John Paul II Institute of the Lateran University (Theology of Marriage and Family, MTS), and the University of Pittsburgh School of Law (JD). He has completed requirements for the PhD in Moral Theology at the Catholic University of America and is writing the PhD dissertation on the teaching of St. John Paul II.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The Catholic Bishops are doing an excellent job standing up for Religious liberty as a fundamental human right. One of my growing concerns is that many Catholics do not even read what they are saying. Sadly, in a propagandized media where sound bites substitute ... continue reading


Thousands of Christians Flee Under Death Threat From Tyrannical Caliph and ISIS Jihadists Watch

Image of (Pictured: Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, or Caliph Ibrahim) At first, Christians were ordered to gather in a central place to receive the directive from the self appointed Caliph. Understandably, given the track record of this maniacal tyrant, few did. So, the text of the statement was issued as a formal declaration to all Christians - We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract - involving payment of Jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

By now, everyone who is in anyway concerned about what is happening to Christians in Iraq has heard the horrific news. The madman who claims to be a descendant of Mohammed, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi - who in his delusion and grandiosity has taken to calling himself ... continue reading


Are you ready for the next dust bowl? California is! Watch

Image of A new study suggests that the Colorado River Basin is rapidly running out of water, which may be disastrous for the seven states it supplies.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

According to a report published by the American space agency and the University of California, the water crisis that is punishing the southwestern United States is likely to worsen. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The report found that the prime source of water ... continue reading


PLAGUE OF BIBLICAL PROPORTIONS: Mayflies descend on Wisconsin Watch

Image of When summer arrives, Mayflies take flight and proceed to mate before immediately going back to the water to lay eggs and die.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It's a plague of Biblical proportions. Ugly mayflies have descended on the state of Wisconsin, covering up exterior services like so much black, metallic dust. Photos coming out of Wisconsin is sure to send viewers itching - so beware of some of the sights in ... continue reading


Catholic Bishops Decry Obama's LGBT executive order as imprudent act of religious discrimination Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The chairmen of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty and Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth have been strong in their condemnation of President Obama's legislation on LGBT employees. "Today's ... continue reading


A Tribute to Protestant Bishop Tony Palmer, Friend of Francis and Champion of Christian Unity Watch

Image of The late Bishop Tony Palmer with Pope Francis- He was catapulted into prominence in the broader Christian community when, while meeting with his friend the Pope in January, he was given a recorded message from Francis to deliver to a large group of charismatic, evangelical protestant leaders who gathered in the United States. The video went viral. It moved millions to sincere prayer for the healing of the divisions in the broken Body of Christ and is prompting a renewed commitment to common apostolic action between Christians.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

I never personally met Bishop Tony Palmer. However, I look forward to spending an eternity in the full communion of God's love with him. I appreciated his Christian courage and felt that his efforts were prophetic. He wrote his life - and lived his ministry - ... continue reading


Exclusive: Tribute to Bishop Tony Palmer, A Life Dedicated to Unity Watch

Image of (Pictured: Left to Right - Dirk West, Matteo Callisi, Bishop Tony Palmer, and Deacon Darrell Wentworth) - Faith to Bishop Tony Palmer was a dynamic, lived experience and, as a result, his life built up the whole Body of Christ and tore down the walls some have built to separate us from each other! What a legacy! A true example of living Jesus' prayer in John 17! (Deacon Darrell Wentworth)

By Deacon Darrell Wentworth

Monday, July 21, 2014, was supposed to be like most Mondays - the start of a work week. But Deacon Keith Fournier sent me a text informing me that my friend, Bishop Tony Palmer, had died. Shock went through my body as I processed that news; then disbelief as I ... continue reading


Anarchy in Chicago! Weekend of crime tears city apart Watch

Image of The weekend of July 18 saw the death of five people and the wounding of 47 in Chicago.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There were 47 shooting victims in Chicago this weekend, five of which ended up being fatal, statistics from the Chicago Police Department report. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Chicago officials met on July 21 to discuss the city's recent surge in gun ... continue reading


The Contraceptive New York Nanny, Bill Donohue and the Catholic League Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The idea that the government is now in the business of arm-twisting women not to have more children - immediately after childbirth - is morally obnoxious and socially disturbing. It is so apt that this is happening in a city where its mayor lusts for abortion ... continue reading


Building a culture of life: Colorado clinic takes brave stand Watch

Image of Inspired to bring their mission home to Colorado, they decided to start a natural women's health clinic that would uphold the dignity of women and give them the care they deserve.

By CNA/EWTN News

A Colorado women's health clinic seeking to offer natural care that respects human dignity has drawn praise for helping to build up a culture of life. (CNA/EWTN News) - Authentic women's care "is essential to the pro-life movement," said Mother Agnes Mary Donovan, ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Second Corinthians 4:7-15
7 But we hold this treasure in pots of earthenware, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 126:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6
1 [Song of Ascents] When Yahweh brought back Zion's ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 20:20-28
20 Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came with her ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 25th, 2014 Image

St. James the Greater
July 25: For James there was no indication that this was the day that his ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter