Likely GOP nominee Mitt Romney received a key endorsement on Thursday from the Susan B. Anthony List despite the fact that Romney still has not signed the group’s pro-life pledge.
The conservative organization, which mainly exists to promote female right-to-life candidates, said it 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.”
“Previously, Governor Mitt Romney has pledged to defund Planned Parenthood, restore the Mexico City Policy, support legislation to ban abortions based on fetal pain, and appoint only constitutionalist judges to the federal bench,” the group said in a statement. “Governor Romney has also committed to selecting a pro-life vice president.”
SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said Romney represents a stark contrast to President Obama, who she described as “the most ideologically pro-abortion president in our nation’s history.”
The group has been deeply at odds with Obama over his decision to require religious employers to include birth control coverage in employee health plans.
Romney, himself, however, hasn’t always held a consistent position on abortion. In 1994, while campaigning for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Ted Kennedy, Romney said that abortion “should be safe and legal in this country.”
Here’s Romney’s entire quote in its full context:
“As a nation, we recognize the right of all people to believe as they want and not to impose our beliefs on other people. I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a US Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it, and I sustain and support that law, and the right of a woman to make that choice, and my personal beliefs, like the personal beliefs of other people, should not be brought into a political campaign.”
In 2002, Romney received an endorsement from the Massachusetts Republican Pro-Choice Coalition after pledging to uphold the state’s pro-choice laws as Governor.
But then in 2005, Romney vetoed a measure to provide residents of his state with greater access to contraception. In an op-ed for the Boston Globe, Romney stated, “I am prolife.” He said the veto mirrored the promise he made as a candidate to not interfere with the state’s abortion laws one way or the other.
Fast forward to last year when Romney declined to sign SBA’s pledge which asked candidates to promote “key pro-life” goals during the 2012 presidential race. Romney’s main opponents in the race — Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul — all signed the pledge, which states the following:
“I PLEDGE that I will only support candidates for President who are committed to protecting Life. I demand that any candidate I support commit to these positions:
FIRST, to nominate to the U.S. federal bench judges who are committed to restraint and applying the original meaning of the Constitution, not legislating from the bench;
SECOND, to select only pro-life appointees for relevant Cabinet and Executive Branch positions, in particular the head of National Institutes of Health, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Health & Human Services;
THIRD, to 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;
FOURTH, advance and sign into law a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion.
Romney defended his decision, saying that although he is committed to promoting a “culture of life in America,” the pledge goes too far.
“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 wrote. “That is precisely what the pledge would demand and require of a president who signed it.”
TRNS has requested comment from both the SBA List and the Romney campaign, and will update this story if and when those requests are returned.