- (Photo: REUTERS/Brian Snyder)
The Susan B. Anthony List, a national pro-life group, announced on Thursday their endorsement of the presumed Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, promising to spend millions to defeat President Obama in November.
"Now is the time to unite behind Governor Romney in order to defeat the most ideologically pro-abortion president in our nation's history," said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA List, in a written statement. "The SBA List is proud to endorse Governor Romney and plans to spend $10 to $12 million in senate and presidential battleground states mobilizing pro-life voters to ensure victory."
The endorsement of Romney signals that SBA and similar pro-life organizations are committed to defeating President Obama, whom they view as "unfriendly and dangerous" to the unborn.
But Romney has not always been seen as a Republican who was willing to fight for pro-life causes. In 1994 when Romney ran for the U.S. Senate against the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, he adopted a pro-abortion position with the permission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
However, when he ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2002, he had changed his position to one of opposing abortion in most cases.
The group's unanimous endorsement of Romney was based on a number of factors, including his pledge to defund Planned Parenthood, to nominate pro-life judges to the federal bench, and to choose a pro-life running mate.
Prior to former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum suspending his campaign on Tuesday, the SBA had given him their endorsement in part because of his pro-life voting record and also because Romney had refused to sign the SBA pledge.
Romney did, however, send a written statement to SBA in June 2011 outlining his reasons for not signing the pledge. In it he maintained he was pro-life with the exceptions of rape, incest and danger to the mother's life, supported the Hyde Amendment which bars the use of federal funds for abortions, and would only appoint judges "who adhere to the Constitution and the laws as they are written, not as they want them to be written."
Included in the same letter were other reasons why he could not sign the SBA pledge: "its well-meaning pledge is overly broad and would have unintended consequences. That is why I could not sign it. 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. That is precisely what the pledge would demand and require of a president who signed it," wrote Romney.
In response to Romney's statement a few days later, Dannenfelser did express disappointment that the former Massachusetts governor declined to commit to only appoint individuals who are pro-life to cabinet positions and other high-rankings executive branch offices.
Still, given the fact that President Obama fully supports abortion-on-demand, the group went forward with endorsing Romney.
"The difference between Governor Romney and President Obama couldn't be clearer, which is why our Board of Directors voted unanimously to get behind him," said Jane Abraham, chairman of the SBA List Board of Directors. "It is the responsibility of all pro-life voters to now unite behind Governor Romney. Together we can put a pro-life leader in the White House."