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Campaign 2008: Republican Presidential Candidates

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Updated January 14, 2010

Campaign 2008: Republican Presidential Candidates

Mitt Romney

Photo Courtesy of Darren McCollester/Getty Images

Campaign 2008 was an influential election. The elected president (President Obama) could have a dramatic effect on funding and policies that include reproductive health issues, access to birth control, abortion, research for more effective contraception, and sex education. Meet the 2008 Republican Presidential Candidates and learn where these presidential candidates stood on reproductive rights.

1. Mitt Romney:

Analysts have argued that with respect to Mitt Romney, it may take a bit of unraveling to figure out what this man is all about. On the surface, it appears as if Mr. Romney is doing everything he can to be viewed as an ultra-conservative, yet when looking into his public positions and actions over the years, he basically spent the better part of his career governing as a liberal.

According to RH RealityCheck, former Governor Mitt Romney has a reputation for going back and forth on his views of reproductive health issues. “In fact, attempting to grasp Romney's position on abortion rights is like trying to catch a fish covered in oil bare-handed -- you'll never get a firm grip on it. In 1994, while enjoying the support of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, Romney nobly declared that '...as a nation we recognize the right of all people to believe as they want...and not to impose our beliefs on other people. I believe abortion should be safe and legal in this country.' In 2002, when running for Governor of Massachusetts, Romney declared again that he was pro-choice and would protect a woman's right to choose. Meanwhile, he was once again endorsed by Massachusetts Citizens For Life for his support of parental consent laws, opposition to tax-payer funded abortion and the Freedom of Choice Act” (Amie Newman, RH Reality Check).

Romney doesn't have a federal voting record on reproductive choice. In 2002, Mr. Romney endorsed legalization of RU-486 (the abortion pill), yet just 3 years later, he vetoed legislation that would have ensured emergency contraception for rape victims. While vying for the endorsement of the National Right to Life group, Romney told its members that he already has practice "redefining contraception,” by vetoing an emergency contraception bill that gave young girls access to Plan B without prescription or parental consent. Given that emergency contraception has the same mode of action as the birth control pill and every other hormonal method of birth control, many have argued that Romney’s wants to reclassify the most commonly used birth control methods as abortions since, to him, contraception is the ultimate corruptor.

Mitt Romney has made his position on anti-choice clear. He includes the following on his website:

    “I am pro-life and I support pro-life legislation...I did change my view on abortion. And that happened, as you know, about two years ago…. And that is where I am. And I have no apology for the fact that I am pro-life."
When asked if the repeal of Roe v. Wade would be a good day for America, Romney responded "Absolutely." He also firmly expresses his support for the Supreme Court decision that upheld the federal abortion ban.

While governor of Massachusetts, Romney funded abstinence education OVER family planning and abortion services. His website announces: “The Romney Vision: A Record of Promoting Abstinence, Not Sex Education.”

Mitt Romney – Quotes:

  • “Abstinence education gives young people the support they need in making the decision to postpone sexual activity until they are mature enough to handle the emotional, moral and financial responsibilities of parenthood.”

  • “What is the culture of this country, what are our underpinnings? We respect hard work ... We are self reliant, we respect human life, we are a religious people... We are a purpose-driven people founded on the family unit. I think every child deserves to have a mother and a father."

  • "What is it about America's culture and values that makes us such a successful nation and society? Part of that is we love liberty, we love our country, we're patriotic," Romney said. "I believe it's also because we are a people who love God and look for a purpose greater than ourselves in life."

2. Ron Paul:

Representative Ron Paul considers himself a "pro-life libertarian" and declares himself to be anti-choice. As for Paul’s voting record, he voted to ban international family planning funding as well as voted to support of the federal abortion ban. Ron Paul has supported legislation that seeks to define life as beginning at conception and was the prime sponsor of HR 300, which would negate the effect of Roe v. Wade by removing the ability of federal courts to interfere with state legislation to protect life. That being said, Mr. Paul has also declared that he is against restrictions on emergency contraception.

Ron Paul - Quotes (from his website):

  • “I am strongly pro life. Life begins at conception ... but, I do not believe this should be a federal matter. All issues of life and violence and crime and murder are dealt with at the local level.”

  • “The right of an innocent, unborn child to life is at the heart of the American ideals of liberty. My professional and legislative record demonstrates my strong commitment to this pro-life principle. In 40 years of medical practice, I never once considered performing an abortion."

  • “Many talk about being pro-life. I have taken direct action to restore protection for the unborn.”

  • “Abortion on demand is no doubt the most serious sociopolitical problem of our age. The lack of respect for life that permits abortion significantly contributes to our violent culture and our careless attitude toward liberty.”

Next Page: John McCain and Mike Huckabee

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