Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney drew criticism Saturday for being one of only three Republican presidential candidates to have refused to sign the Susan B. Anthony List’s Pro-Life Leadership Presidential Pledge.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who did sign the pledge, sent out a press release saying he was “stunned” at Romney’s refusal to sign.
“This past Monday night at the Republican Presidential Debate, I was asked about Governor Romney’s pro-life conversion, and I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I apparently spoke too soon. It is incredibly disappointing that Governor Romney chose not to defend those who cannot defend themselves,” said Santorum in the statement.
SBA List blasted Romney in a statement.
“Our next president must recognize the urgency of addressing over a million abortions per year,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “That’s why our pledge calls for active leadership, not just checking the box. Five candidates took the pledge, and the pro-life grassroots know where they stand.”
“Governor Romney refused to take the pledge and his explanation raises more questions than answers,” she said. “In good conscience, we cannot let this rest.”
In an op-ed on National Review Online Saturday, Romney explained why he declined to sign the pledge.
“I am pro-life and believe that abortion should be limited to only instances of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother,” he wrote. He pronounced his support for a number of the other provisions in the pledge, but said the SBA List Pledge went too far.
“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. 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,” Romney wrote.
Romney is not the only Republican candidate who did not sign the pledge: former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and businessman Herman Cain also declined to sign. But as the perceived frontrunner in the race, Romney is the only candidate to have yet drawn significant fire for not signing it.