Last night, four contenders for the GOP presidential nomination participated in a televised pro-life forum in South Carolina. The pro-life issue—and personhood specifically—is getting more national attention in this presidential race than any other race in recent memory. Live Action President, Lila Rose, served as a moderator at this historic forum.
While Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul all took part, Mitt Romney was noticeably absent. I’m not sure what it says about a presidential candidate if he declines to take part in a specifically pro-life forum. Either he’s too much of a “big league” player to participate, he really, truly had another commitment scheduled first, or he’s just not that into the pro-life issue.
Does Romney’s absence spell good things for pro-lifers in the future? Certainly, his views on abortion can be debated, but it’s clear that he didn’t view the issue as a big enough priority to show up to a forum focused on it.
Romney received his share of criticism from the forum participants and moderators. Perry commented that Romney’s purported change on the abortion issue was a “choice of convenience.” An interesting moment in the forum occurred when a moderator asked Perry to discuss the difference in his pro-life beliefs with Romney’s.
Perry replied, “You don’t have enough time in here.” He then attacked the former Massachusetts governor for claiming to be pro-life after having run for the Senate and governor as a supporter of abortion rights. (Romney has said he changed his opinion after an embryonic stem cell bill hit his desk as governor.)
Newt Gingrich also freely shared his opinions on Romney and abortion:
Gingrich cited Romney’s record as governor as evidence he isn’t “likely to change Washington” when it comes to abortion rights. The former House speaker said Romney “wrote Planned Parenthood into RomneyCare with no right-to-life group; his administration approved paying for an abortion clinic for Planned Parenthood with state funds; and he appointed pro-abortion and pro-gay-marriage judges to the court.”
Gingrich also pointed out that “Gov. Romney…after becoming pro-life, passed Romneycare with taxpayer funded abortions.” The fact that Romney made this move after his supposed conversion is definitely something for pro-lifers to pay attention to.
I don’t think any person can claim to know the heart of Mitt Romney other than Romney himself. Pro-lifers should be asking themselves, however, if there is a difference between someone who has a pro-life record we can look at and someone who reports a change of heart. It’s a whole lot easier to say that you’re pro-life than to back that up with actions–apparently even the simple action of showing up to a forum.
Mitt Romney aside, the pro-life forum was a success for the movement as a whole. Media attention was drawn to abortion and the need to end it NOW. The more the pro-life issue is discussed among the public, the sooner this atrocity will end. Kudos to Personhood USA and their partners for bringing the debate to Americans via TV and the web. If you missed the pro-life forum last night, you can watch it later today here.
“The president interprets the Constitution as president,” Gingrich said. “If the court makes a fundamentally wrong decision, the president can in fact ignore the courts.”
“I’ve been around this business long enough to understand the horse-trading that goes on, but there’s some principles that you don’t trade on,” Perry said.
[T]hey discussed their personal epiphanies that solidified their pro-life convictions. Paul, an OB-GYN physician, recalled how the invention and use of ultrasound imaging was a decisive moment for him, because the technology enabled his patients to actually see the fetus. Gingrich’s came when a constituent approached him and told him a fetus was nothing more than a “malignant tumor.” At that moment, he said, he realized “the gap between those who think this is not life and those who understand the preciousness of life is so wide.”
“Every child has dignity and value,” Santorum said. “I’m the blessed father of a special-needs child, which is the greatest gift I’ve been given in my life.”
NOTE: Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the position of Live Action. Live Action does not endorse Federal candidates.