(Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)
A group of evangelicals supporting Mitt Romney is defending the GOP front-runner against claims by a pro-life organization that he has been inconsistent on the issue of abortion. Evangelicals for Mitt insists that the former Massachusetts governor would be the country's most pro-life president, if elected.
Personhood USA had released a statement Monday, arguing that Romney has a very spotty record when it comes to abortion. The pro-life group was responding to a fact sheet published by Planned Parenthood that described Romney as the anti-abortion candidate.
The pro-life group highlighted a number of instances in which Romney signed legislation supportive of abortion during his time as governor of Massachusetts from 2003-2007. It pointed to a recent instance in which Romney declined in December to sign its Presidential Pledge asking GOP candidates to commit to supporting and advancing the personhood rights of the pre-born. According to the organization, five presidential hopefuls signed the pledge, including Speaker Newt Gingrich, Sen. Rick Santorum, Rep. Ron Paul, Rep. Michele Bachmann, and Gov. Rick Perry.
The purpose of the pledge was to ensure that presidential hopefuls were committed to Personhood USA's pro-life agenda, which read: "If elected President, I will work to advance state and federal laws and amendments that recognize the unalienable right to life of all human beings as persons at every stage of development, and to the best of my knowledge, I will only appoint federal judges and relevant officials who will uphold and enforce state and federal laws recognizing that all human beings at every stage of development are persons with the unalienable right to life."
Romney chose not to sign the pledge, which the organization suggested in its recent statement to view as proof of the front-runner's refusal to commit to a pro-life stance.
The Christian Post reached out to Evangelicals for Mitt, an alliance of Romney supporters not officially aligned with his campaign, and talked with David French, a spokesman for the group, who explained that Romney is actually on course to becoming one of the nation's most pro-life presidents, if elected.
In response to the Personhood USA pledge, French shared that Romney had actually composed a pro-life pledge of his own.
The spokesman explained, "Mitt issued his own pro-life pledge for his campaign, where if he is elected and he is successful in accomplishing all of the elements in the pledge, he will be the most successful pro-life president in American history.
"A lot of different groups put forth a pledge for the candidates to sign, and what Mitt did was put up his own pledge, rather than relying on the wording of various other pledges."
Romney's pledge is available on the National Review Online. In it, the former governor states:
"I am pro-life and believe that abortion should be limited to only instances of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother," it begins, and lists several key pro-life issues he promises to work on, such as the reversal of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark decision that paved the way for legalizing abortion.
"If I have the opportunity to serve as our nation's next president, I commit to doing everything in my power to cultivate, promote, and support a culture of life in America."
Among the other issues Personhood USA claims as proof of Romney's "spotty" record includes the Massachusetts Health Care Reform Act, which the Republican front-runner signed in 2006. The bill provided for surgical abortion co-pays and paved the way for Planned Parenthood to have a seat on the advisory board, granting the nation's largest abortion provider authority to help shape the standards.
"He did not have control over public funding of abortion," French explained. "That was decided by the Massachusetts supreme court about 20 years ago. Massachusetts is one of the most liberal states in the country, and it decided it's a matter of constitutional law that any publicly funded health care plan was going to include abortion. Any of them. It did before Mitt Romney was governor, it did after Mitt Romney was governor. He had no control over that."
The spokesman noted that Massachusetts citizens favored Romney due to his pro-life position.
"What's really critical though is that Massachusetts citizens for life gave Mitt its political leadership award for his leadership in the pro-life community as governor. During the primary, a number of Mitt's opponents, who are obviously motivated to win the nomination, distorted and twisted a lot of Mitt's record. But the reality is, Mitt was a pro-life governor of Massachusetts, and he will be a pro-life president," French stated.
Personhood USA defines itself as a Christian ministry that "serves the pro-life community by assisting local groups to initiate citizen, legislative, and political action focusing on the ultimate goal of the pro-life movement: personhood rights for all innocent humans."