Many opponents have criticized Mitt Romney as a flip-flopper on abortion; being pro-choice when running for governor and now trying to reinvent himself as anti-abortion as he seeks the GOP presidential endorsement.
But one thing is apparent, Romney won’t go as far as many of the other Republican candidates, refusing this weekend to sign the Susan B. Anthony List pledge for “life.” The pledge—which even the conservative website Redstate called “ridiculous” due to an overstepping of executive powers—forces candidates to promise that they would not only end legal abortion and defund Planned Parenthood and any other provider affiliated with abortions (potentially including colleges and hospitals), but would also reject or remove from power any person in any role in the government who isn’t publicly declared as anti-abortion.
So SBA attacked.
Via the Washington Post:
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SBA pounced, issuing a statement condemning only Romney. It read in part, “Our next president must recognize the urgency of addressing over a million abortions per year. That’s why our pledge calls for active leadership, not just checking the box. Five candidates took the pledge, and the pro-life grass roots know where they stand. Governor Romney refused to take the pledge, and his explanation raises more questions than answers. In good conscience, we cannot let this rest.”
But Romney wasn’t the only candidate not to sign the pledge. Herman Cain rejected it too, and hardly heard a peep. Rick Santorum agreed with it but was apparently informed through back channels that the promise wasn’t nearly as broad as it appeared.
Now, SBA is trying to backtrack its own criticism of the Republican front runner.
Saturday night I reported on the muddle concerning the anti-abortion pledge put out by the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA) group. SBA seemed to be at pains Sunday to downplay any conflict with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, whose refusal to sign the pledge was criticized on Saturday.
After Saturday night’s post ran, SBA spokesman Billy Valentine e-mailed me and, after a series of e-mail exchanges, claimed for the first time: “Defunding hospitals has never been considered by Congress, is not part of public debate and is not part of the pledge. Ninety-five percent of abortions are performed outside of hospitals. We made this clear to the Romney campaign.”
SBA president Marjorie Dannenfelser then e-mailed me early Sunday claiming that she had spoken with the Romney campaign to try to clarify the pledge. She denied that there was any attempt to damage Romney and stated, “Romney has been an ally of mine/ours since the last election. His not signing came after a sincere effort to clarify intent and convince him to sign.”
Maybe they should stay out of “pledges” and go back to what they claim they were formed to do— “support pro-life female candidates.”