Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign is firing at Mitt Romney, over his refusal to sign a stringent pro-life pledge from a conservative group.
On Saturday, Romney wrote on National Review
that he would not sign the pro-life pledge from the Susan B. Anthony List
(which supports pro-life candidates for Congress, in something of a counter-weight EMILY's List), on the grounds that its pledge to defund all "contractors and recipients of federal funds with affiliates that perform or fund abortions" went too far, and would cut off funding to many hospitals.
"As much as I share the goals of the Susan B. Anthony List, its well-meaning pledge is overly broad and would have unintended consequences," Romney wrote. "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."
The Bachmann campaign then pounced -- linking Romney's stance on the pledge to his original pro-choice positions -- with spokeswoman Alice Stewart saying in a statement, in part:
"It is distressing that Governor Romney refuses to sign the SBA Pledge, even while claiming to be pro-life. The excuses for not signing clearly continue the doubts about his leadership and commitment to ending the practice of abortion - particularly for a candidate who ran as pro-choice for the Senate and Governorship of Massachusetts. Any Presidential candidate seeking our party's nomination should sign the SBA Pledge and vow to protect life from conception to natural death. Governor Romney should reconsider his decision not to sign the Pledge just as he reconsidered his position on the life issue during the last campaign."
The group's Web page notes that in addition to Romney, Herman Cain and Gary Johnson have also refused to sign the pledge. On the other side, Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum have signed.
The full text of the pledge:
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.