The Susan B. Anthony List has announced that five presidential candidates– Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, and Rick Santorum– have signed on to its Pro-Life Presidential Leadership Pledge. The Pledge lists four priorities:
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
Three candidates have refused to sign: Gary Johnson (who is campaigning on a pro-choice platform), Mitt Romney (whose refusal caught the notice of Politico), and Herman Cain. Cain is surprising, since he’s been vocally pro-life from the beginning of his campaign. Perhaps he feels that the pro-life movement would be better served with different priorities.
The first and second promises strike me as pretty standard fare for a pro-life president. The promise to defund Planned Parenthood is interesting, but we already know from experience that no president will be able to deliver on it without major changes to the Senate. As to the fourth promise, this is the first indication I’ve seen that the pro-life movement wants to pass a federal Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Quite a few have passed on the state level, and pro-abortion groups have decided not to challenge them in court; passing one on the federal level could force their hand.
I can also think of plenty of things that can be done on the federal level but are not listed in the Pledge.
Do you share the SBA List’s priorities? If not, what would you strike or add?