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Elections & Politics

RE: GOP Debate Prebuttal: Republican Primary Is Race to See Who Can Be Worst for Women

Contact: Planned Parenthood Action Fund Media Office, 212-261-4433

For Immediate Release: 01.07.12

TO: Interested Parties

FROM: Catherine Welker, Planned Parenthood Action Fund

DATE: January 7, 2012

RE: GOP Debate Prebuttal: Republican Primary Is Race to See Who Can Be Worst for Women

As the GOP field prepares for back-to-back weekend debates in the Granite State, women are wondering, how far right will they go this time? 

Will they tout their support for "personhood," which is so extreme it could ban birth control and IVF, and overturn Roe v. Wade?

Will they flaunt their out-of-the mainstream pledge to ban Planned Parenthood from providing birth control and cancer screenings to millions of women through federal programs?

Will they peddle their radical positions to ban abortion, even in the case of rape or incest? 

The fact is, the Republican presidential candidates are so far out of the mainstream on women’s health they will have difficulty gaining the support of moderate women voters who are key to winning the presidency.

Simply put, the Republican presidential primary has been a race to see which candidate can be worst for women.


BACKGROUND:

Personhood

Romney Came Out in Support of Personhood Amendment, Positioning Himself to the Right of Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. Romney was asked if he would support a dangerous proposal, commonly called a “personhood amendment,” that could potentially ban common forms of contraception like the birth control pill, as well as prevent a pregnant woman experiencing complications that threaten her life or health to obtain safe abortion care. Romney said, “absolutely.” [Concord Monitor, 11/9/11]

Gingrich Said He Would “Aggressively Pursue a Strategy” to Pass Personhood Bill. In a speech at an Iowa abortion forum, Gingrich reaffirmed his support of extreme personhood measures, saying that the 14th Amendment clearly states that Congress can define personhood, allowing them to pass a bill “defining personhood as beginning at conception.” He also suggested they would find a way to keep the Supreme Court from reviewing said law. [Iowa Abortion Forum, 12/14/11]

Santorum Would “Fight” for Personhood Amendment, Signed Personhood USA Pledge.  Santorum said he signed the Personhood Pledge because “This is one of the central issues if not THE central issue.” When “asked what a personhood bill pursuant to the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution would entail. ‘The act would be a very simple one that would recognize life from conception to natural death as what it is, a human life. We do not differentiate stages of development, or mental capacity, or capacity at the end of life, as being any less of a person,’ replied Santorum. ‘Personhood is defined as an entity that is genetically human and alive--it is a person as contemplated under our Constitution. The legislation would be one that is simple, and brief, and to the point.’ Following the line of questioning, Santorum was asked what his response would be if the Supreme Court were to strike down the law. ‘You do what you always do in every case when the Court strikes it down, you fight,’ he continued.” Santorum added he would be willing to use an executive order to accomplish this. [YouTube, Personhood USA Presidential Pro-Life Forum, 12/28/11; Personhood USA Press Release, 12/28/11]

Paul Signed Personhood USA Pledge, Said  In 2011, Paul signed on to the Presidential Candidate Pledge circulated by extremist organization Personhood USA; he has said “The fact is that the fetus has legal rights: inheritance, a right not to be injured or aborted by unwise medical treatment, violence, or accidents.”  [Ron Paul 2012, Press Release, 12/22/11; From Liberty Defined in the Texas Independent, 4/28/11]

Perry Signed Personhood USA Pledge, Said He Would Support Personhood Constitutional Amendment. On personhood amendments: “I don’t know if there’s anyone who’s been engaged with more issues that have been protective of life…parental consent, parental notification…I happen to believe in putting justices on the Supreme Court that are pro-life, Roe v.. Wade would be found to be unconstitutional…until there would be a constitutional amendment in the United States that would clearly defend life and that life be from the time of conception until death and I would support that pro-life amendment in a constitutional way.” [Personhood USA Press Release, 12/28/11; Youtube.com, PP Votes, 11/16/11]

Opposing Funding for Planned Parenthood Health Centers

Romney Singled Out Planned Parenthood, Title X For Elimination in Budget.  In a November op-ed, Romney wrote ways that he would reduce government spending such as: “Eliminate Title X family planning programs benefiting abortion groups like Planned Parenthood.” He also singled out Title X, a program established in 1970 to provide access to contraceptive services and supplies. “The test should be this: 'Is this program so critical that it is worth borrowing money to pay for it?” [USA Today, 11/4/11; Concord Monitor, 11/9/11]

Gingrich Called Defunding Planned Parenthood “A Good Fight.” “He called on the House to continue pushing to defund Planned Parenthood. ‘This is a good fight,’ he said, playing up the recent report that the group performed over 330,000 abortions in 2009. ‘That's a medium-sized city,’ he said, adding, ‘I think that Planned Parenthood should be defunded, and I think it's a very significant issue to say to people, 'Should your tax money go to pay the leading abortion provider in America?’” [US News, 5/23/11]

In Gingrich Abortion Forum Speech, Said He Would Pursue Anti-Choice Agenda “Two Hours After” Being Inaugurated. In a speech at an Iowa abortion forum, Gingrich said that if he were elected president, two hours after his inaugural, he would sign a series of executive orders reinstating the Global Gag Rule and conscience clauses. He would then send legislation to Congress to defund Planned Parenthood and pursue passing a personhood measure through Congress. The abortion forum was organized and hosted by social conservative leader Mike Huckabee, who won the Republican Iowa caucus in 2008 and whose endorsement is being heavily courted by the GOP field.  [Iowa Abortion Forum, 12/14/11]

Santorum Would Defund Planned Parenthood: “I can’t imagine any other organization with its roots as poisonous as the roots of Planned Parenthood getting federal funding of any kind.”  As president, Santorum would veto any bill or budget that funds Planned Parenthood. Santorum has said, “This is an organization that was founded on the eugenics movement, founded on racism… It's (sic) origins are horrific. And, you can say well, it's not that anymore. It’s not far from where it was in my opinion in its activities and its motivations.” He supports banning Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal funds. [Huffington Post, 4/28/11; Des Moines Register, 11/4/11]

Paul Would Veto Bills Containing Funding for Planned Parenthood. "As President, I plan to defund Obamacare and all federal programs that use tax money taken from the American people to promote abortion. I pledge also to veto any bill with funding for Planned Parenthood or any other international family planning regimes." [Business Wire, 8/4/11]

Perry Defunded Planned Parenthood as Governor, Was Proud of Health Centers Shutting Doors.  “Texas Gov. Rick Perry said, ‘I was proud to sign a state budget that defunded Planned Parenthood,’ and won a round of applause with his report that, ‘since then, there have been 12 Planned Parenthood clinics that have shut down.’" [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12/15/11]

Huntsman Would Veto Budget If It Included Funding for Planned Parenthood. Jon Huntsman, in an interview with RedState, said he would veto “any Federal budget that contained funding for Planned Parenthood.” [RedState.com, 12/19/11]

Overturning Roe v. Wade

Romney Called Roe “Bad Law and Bad Medicine.” “I support the reversal ofRoe v. Wade, because it is bad law and bad medicine. Roe was a misguided ruling that was a result of a small group of activist federal judges legislating from the bench.” [Boston Globe, 6/20/11]

Gingrich Called Reasoning Behind Roe v. Wade “Phony” at Iowa Abortion Forum, Opposes Exceptions for Rape or Incest. Gingrich said “The whole reason behind Roe v. Wade is a utilitarian, phony science reasoning that has collapsed under the weight of modern technology.” Gingrich has signed a “pro-life pledge” sponsored by an anti-choice special interest group, stating support for overturning Roe v. Wade. Gingrich also said he opposes abortion, even in the cases of rape or incest.   [Iowa Abortion Forum via Radio Iowa, 12/14/11; SBA List pledge; Think Progress, 1/3/12]

Santorum Called Roe “Poorly and Horribly Decided,” opposes abortion in cases of rape or incest. Santorum has stated on his website, “I believe we need to overturn Roe v. Wade. I think it was a poorly and horribly decided decision”. Santorum has signed a “pro-life pledge” sponsored by an anti-choice special interest group, stating support for overturning Roe v. Wade. On Meet the Press, Santorum said abortion should be banned even in the cases of rape or incest, and that doctors who performed such abortions should be “criminally charged.” [Des Moines Register, 6/7/11; SBA List pledge; NBC Meet the Press/Think Progress, 6/12/11]

Perry Called Roe a “Shameful Footnote,” Opposes Rape and Incest exceptions. Governor Perry, at an anti-choice rally in Los Angeles said: “Roe v. Wade is nothing but a shameful footnote in our nation’s history books.” [Reuters, 6/13/11] Perry has signed a “pro-life pledge” sponsored by an anti-choice special interest group, stating support for overturning Roe v. Wade. He also says he is opposed to abortion even in the cases of rape or incest. [SBA List pledge; Daily Beast, 12/28/11]

Ron Paul Has Called Roe v. Wade “Disastrous” and “A Big Mistake.” 12/14/11Said Paul, “I am strongly pro-life. I think one of the most disastrous rulings of this century was Roe versus Wade. I do believe in the slippery slope theory. I believe that if people are careless and casual about life at the beginning of life, we will be careless and casual about life at the end. Abortion leads to euthanasia. I believe that.” [Floor Speech, 10/27/99] “I think the Roe v. Wade situation was a big mistake and the states ought to have the right to decide on the issue, so I would deny jurisdiction to the federal courts on abortion issues.” [NRTL GOP Candidate Comparison]

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.