GOP candidates talk abortion
June 24th, 2011
04:10 PM ET
12 years ago

GOP candidates talk abortion

(CNN) - In a presidential race thus far centered on the economy, nearly half of the 2012 GOP field took a break Friday to turn the election's spotlight on abortion.

Five candidates appeared–in person or via Skype–at the National Right to Life convention in Jacksonville, Fla., where they tapped into a social conservative base that's largely been sidelined since the tea party movement shifted the GOP's focus to fiscal issues.

All the candidates agreed life begins at conception and punctuated their point by citing the Declaration of Independence, which states all men "are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Several speeches were also laced with faith-based remarks. Herman Cain, former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, warned the country was in a "moral crisis" and said an increasingly secular culture was to blame for the legalization of abortion.

"As believers, most of us, we've got to fight back strongly with our voices and our votes," Cain said.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum underscored abortion as a rights issue, saying the government was ignoring the rights of the unborn and used the opportunity to tie in "Obamacare" as evidence the president was "fixated on accumulating power in DC."

Rep. Ron Paul from Texas, a former obstetrician who says he's delivered more than 4,000 babies, said he would introduce legislation called "We the People Act," which would shift abortion laws from the federal level to the states.

"We could prevent millions of abortions by allowing states to legislate," Paul said, via Skype.

The libertarian-leaning congressman said the issue of life and abortion is "probably the most important issue of our age" and that "liberty is secondary to life."

While the previous three candidates delivered sermon-like speeches with emotional rhetoric, Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty kept their messages short and on point about the election.

Bachmann, who has five children and fostered 23 others, tried to emphasize she was the candidate with the strongest record fighting abortion.

"What you want in a president is someone who is unquestionably 100 percent pro-life," Bachmann said, adding a line she has repeated throughout her campaign: "I need your help to seek the office of the presidency to make Obama a one term president."

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty had the shortest speech of all the candidates. He cited an article from National Review Online, a conservative news outlet, which described Pawlenty as the most pro-life candidate in the current GOP presidential field.

"If we're going to have a new and better direction for America, we're going to need a new and better president," Pawlenty said.

Interestingly, none of the candidates referred to a controversial move earlier in the week by former Govs. Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, both of whom passed on signing a pledge against federal funding for abortion services drawn up by the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life organization.

- CNN Political Coverage Manager Steve Brusk contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Abortion • Republicans
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Thank God I am a Democrat

    @Democrat Class Warfare – Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    The GOP want to stop abortion because life is so precious but once that child is born they are on their own. No welfare, foodstamps, healthcare, etc. Truly, based ont he way you guys talk out both sides of your mouths it should be you that is pro-choice. You don't want to pay for these babies under any circumstance so it seems that you should support abortion as that would eliminate your burden before it happens. You all are a joke.

    June 24, 2011 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    That's all they talk about. It is a broken record, and the people are sick of hearing it.

    Their religion interfering with government, is unacceptable. Abortion is a woman's right, that is established by the courts, and it is not negotiable with the GOP!

    June 24, 2011 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  3. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    The Republicans applaud the murder of doctors who perform legal abortions....

    June 24, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  4. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    And what about women/girls who are raped or are incest survivors? Or the mother of several living children who will die if she tries to carry her pregnancy to term?
    Exceptions can be made for these very rare cases but these criminal acts would have to be proved. The word of the mother would not be enough to commit murder against the child. The child would entitled to due process.

    Regarding birth control being widely available, I'm assuming you are against funding Planned Parenthood, which offers these kinds of services at affordable rates.
    I would have no problem with this as long as Planned Parenthood was not in the abortion business as well. After all it is called PLANNED PARENTHOOD not PLANNED ABORTIONS.

    June 24, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    The only thing I see being aborted here is common sense. Screw the right wing fundamentalist religio-fascists and the high horse they rode in on.

    June 24, 2011 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Please stop telling me what to do with MY body
    Do whatever you want to your body as long as you do not harm the other body inside you. You are NOT the only person involved.

    Why do people get upset when people are pregnant but then smoke, drink, take drugs? But have no qualms with murdering the baby? Sounds more than a bit crazy.

    June 24, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. duane

    I bet if one of these self righteous zealots daughters got raped and pregnant by a criminal they would sing a different tune. How the hell can anybody tell a woman what to do with their bodies. If men could concieve abortion would be legal and available 24/7. Please go away your like the taliban without the bombs.

    June 24, 2011 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  8. Republican Robber Baron

    Distractions, wedge issues, culture wars, imposing fundamentalist religious doctrine, rewriting the Constitution or re-inventing history to suit Partisan activist agenda....anything but focus on the real issues is the same old same old GOP playbook.
    Tom DeLay and friends already been there done that.

    June 24, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  9. Marie MD

    Why are these tools talking about abortion? This has nothing to do with JOBS, JOBS, JOBS or the economy or the wars or how are we going to tax the rich and the corporations.
    I don't care what anyone, rethug or Democrat, thinks about abortion because that is a woman's choice not some right (mostly)wing bible thumping nut who should find a hole to stick their finger in it and sit quietly until they ae called for dinner!

    June 24, 2011 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  10. ThinkAgain

    "Distractions, wedge issues, culture wars, imposing fundamentalist religious doctrine, rewriting the Constitution or re-inventing history to suit Partisan activist agenda....anything but focus on the real issues is the same old same old GOP playbook."

    The GOP does this because that's all they've got!

    They have no record of accomplishment to run on.

    All of their economic, military and foreign policies are PROVEN FAILURES.

    All that's left is stirring up people's emotions by using lies, fear, hatred and division.

    And these yahoos have the temerity to call themselves "patriots"? HA!

    June 24, 2011 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  11. Mr. Moderate

    When will they pro-life crowd realize that they are being played by the Republicans. They have no intention to outlaw abortion or else they would have when they had complete control of the federal government between 2001 and 2007. They know that keeping it out there and talking a good game will keep the pro-life movement loyally in their corner. If it goes away, one of their most loyal voting blocks will look to other issues.

    June 24, 2011 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  12. imp

    "Democrats want to keep the worst of the worst crimnals alive in jails forever by opposing the death penalty, yet sentence innocent children to death at the hands of doctors sworn to protect life."
    Talk about insane!!!!! I've NEVER heard a Democrat calling for the murder of any babies. Giving the choice to women to stop the growth of cells in their OWN BODIES – yes! Murdering babies – NO!!!! I have no doubt that the pro-wealth/anti-poor policies of the repubs have killed a few babies but NOT the Dems! Of course, that doesn't bother the repubs because they really don't care about anyone who's actually alive (unless they're wealthy) – just blobs of cells that have the potential for life & corporations of course!

    June 24, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "GOP candidates talk abortion"

    GOP candidates talk nonsense.


    June 24, 2011 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  14. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    HEY, even I believe that life begins at conception, but I also believe that women have the absolute RIGHT to control of their own body.

    IF any woman were to ask me what they should do, I would say have the child and let me adopt him/her. But till they ask, its NONE OF MY BUSINESS... (yours either).

    June 24, 2011 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  15. Do we really need Big Brother Government regulations to come betwen a woman and her doctor?

    I thought the right wing hated big government. Silly me

    June 24, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  16. B

    How do we get the Government out of abortion ?

    It is no different from Separation of Church and State. Abortion is a personal health issue between private citizens and doctors and the Government should not be involved. Republicans are constantly reminding us about – Less Government involvement in our lives! So how does this become a major issue in selecting politicians in this country ?

    June 24, 2011 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  17. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    This has nothing to do with JOBS, JOBS, JOBS
    Why there is absolutely no concern with JOBS, JOBS, JOBS. We have been assured by Obama, Reid and Pelosi that spending $860 BILLION of borrowed money would keep unemployment below 8% and would stimulate the economy back to full growth. VP Joe Biden declared last summer as the summer of recovery. Where the heck have you been? Obama, Biden, Reid and Pelosi have fixed everything! Enough with these ludicrous questions OK. The country is doing just wonderful.

    June 24, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  18. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    You come here daily and make substanceless, imbecilic comments that evidence your own laziness in simply accepting whatever your partisan masters tell you to believe and regurgitate instead of going out and informing yourself with the facts and reality of the issues you try desperately to score points on.
    Now now Sniffit... rants like this only prove YOU are the king of non-substance. When you presented with facts you cannot refute, you always degenerate into this sort of BS.

    It is amazing how all the liberals in here can argue for murdering innocent children under the guise of "privacy" or "don't tell me what I can do to MY body". When an unborn child is concerned, you are not the only one involved. EVERYBODY'S rights must be considered and be protected with due process, including the rights of the unborn child.

    June 24, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  19. ibyoungr

    I am against abortion. We should not kill off our own species. It is very unnatural. That being said.... the republicans use this to get votes from the right wing radicals. The proof is.. Roe Vs Wade will not be overturned, In 1992, Republican Anthony Kennedy Supreme Court justice joined O'Connor's plurality opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), which reaffirmed in principle (though without many details) the Roe v. Wade decision recognizing the right to abortion under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The plurality opinion, signed jointly by three justices appointed by Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, also In Hodgson v. Minnesota (1990),Anthony Kennedy upheld a restriction on abortion for minors requiring both parents to consent to the procedure. Anthony Kennedy is Christian, he was selected by a Republican president and he still voted to not overturn Roe v Wade. This country went down hill since the Republicans learned that they could use the religous right as a way to "get your vote." This is not about saving babies to the Republican right wingers... this is about them having the power to make corporations and the rich man richer. The Supreme Court is the ONLY way for Roe v Wade to be oveturned. There are 9 justices and 5 are republican right wingers. They have the # needed to overturn Roe v Wade. Why haven't they done it? Banning abortion should be about the collective people in the US wanting to save the human race. It just seems so unnatural for a woman to not want a baby. Natural law dictates that we should do all we can to protect our human life no matter what form it is in. Expecting the republicans to overturn abortion is not going to happen. We as a society needs to put all selfish desires aside and do what we can to protect our all life, to further educate ourselves, to become less selfish and to grow as humans, and to lead with love and care for one and all before we drive ourselves to extinction. This is way more than about "women's choice" or "saving babies." Right or left. Pro-choice or Pro-life. It is about so much more.

    June 24, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  20. Jarhead

    Abortion should only be allowed if it prevents the birth of another rabid and bigotry republican.

    June 24, 2011 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
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