How committed are the current GOP presidential candidates to the pro-life cause? Of the eight who spoke last week at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., six mentioned ending abortion and/or defunding Planned Parenthood. Ben Carson and Donald Trump did not. In recent weeks, Carson’s commitment to the pro-life cause has been questioned because he admitted using fetal tissue in research he published in the ‘90s. Trump, who used to be pro-choice and even defended partial-birth abortion, now says he is pro-life, but many wonder whether this change is due to conviction or political expediency.
Of all the candidates I heard at the Values Voter Summit, I thought Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal spoke with the most conviction and passion on the issue. But, listen and decide for yourself. Below are the videos and texts of each of the candidates’ statements on life at the summit. All said the right words. Let’s hope and pray their actions follow should any one of them hold the highest office in this country.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio
“…But there’s one more important point that needs to be made, one that transcends policy and politics altogether. No candidate for president can claim to stand on the side of our people if they do not believe that every person has a right to exist. And that’s why the issue of right to live is more than political or policy related.
“It is not a political issue. It is a human rights issue. It is a definitional issue about what kind of country we want to be. In a world where life is increasingly not valued, where people are summarily discarded, America must stand for the belief that all life is worthy of protection because all life comes from God. And so by the year 2020, I hope we will be able to say that abortions after 20 weeks are illegal, that no taxpayer money is used to fund abortions here or abroad, and that Planned Parenthood doesn’t receive a penny from the federal government…”
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz
“…And the second thing I intend to do on my first day in office is instruct the Department of Justice to open an investigation into Planned Parenthood and these horrible videos. And to prosecute any and all criminal conduct by that organization. The administration of justice should be blind to party of ideology. The only fidelity of the Department of Justice should be to the laws and the Constitution of the United States of America…”
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum
“…America is never going to be a great country if we’re a country that kills our children in the womb, ever. We are never going to be blessed by God if we’re a country that kills our children in the womb. We are never going to be a great country if we allow for the destruction of the American family that’s what’s happened over the past 50 years. And thank you for coming here and for standing for truth, standing for what you know is right and best for this country.
“You know, we have a lot of candidates for president who will come up here on stage. And they’ll rile you up and talk to you about all the things that they’re going to do. But here’s the best way to determine whether you can trust the person who’s coming before you. Look at their record. Look at what they’ve accomplished. Look at what they’ve fought for. Look at what they have paid a price for. I came to Washington, D.C., and I’ll have to be honest with you, I wasn’t a pro – I was pro-life – but I wasn’t’ a pro-life warrior. It was only in a situation that’s similar to what’s happening here with Planned Parenthood, when we were made aware of this issue called partial-birth abortion, this horrific procedure.
“I know about this procedure. I was on CNN the other day and we were talking about – I was talking with Chris Cuomo, not always a fun, necessarily, thing to do. And we were talking about the Planned Parenthood videos, and I said: Not only should we defund Planned Parenthood, we should be prosecuting Planned Parenthood. And he got very upset with me. Said, what do you mean? He said, what laws have they broken? I said, well, the procedures that we saw described in these videos I know very well, because they were partial-birth abortions. And he says, well, OK, but, you know, how do you know that that’s against the law? I said, because I wrote the law. I know that it’s against the law.
“We have been fighting these battles. I have been standing in the forefront for year after year after year fighting the battles on life. And we see right now that we have people in Congress, we have people even in the leadership of our party who, when given the opportunity to raise up an issue and focus America’s attention on the horror of abortion, they retreat and refuse to fight. They think they can’t win the battle, so they give up before it’s even fought. Ladies and gentleman, there are a lot of people going to come up here and ask you for your support, and they’re going to tell you that they’re with you. Here’s what I would say, have you been disappointed enough by people who promise you things and don’t deliver? Have you seen folks that you thought were with you, and then you realize when it got tough they weren’t willing to get into the trenches and fight?
“And here’s what I would say. You know one person in this race who is always willing to fight for live, always willing to fight for the family. Every major piece of pro-life legislation that’s passed in the last 20 years I was the author of and I led the fight on the floor of the Senate. And I didn’t come from a safe state — I didn’t come from a safe state where you can easily vote that way, much less lead that way…”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
“…Now, I know one of the biggest battles going on in this city right now – and it’s a worthy battle, an important one – defund Planned Parenthood. But, when I hear people act as if, ‘If we could just defund Planned Parenthood, man, we could break our arms patting ourselves on the back for being such heroes of the life movement. I want to just remind you of something. For 42 years, we have lived under the notion that it is a human right and privilege to take the life of an unborn child.
“Here’s what I’d like to propose – that we do something far bolder than simply cut out the funding for one agency that provides abortions. Because, as important as that is, it doesn’t end the nightmare, the scourge. It does not end this horrible, uncivilized, savage behavior. It just moves it over to let someone else do it. And, it’s why I have said that as president of the United States, I will raise this question: Is the unborn child a person or is it just a blob of tissue? And, I believe with all my heart, the answer to that question we all know. It is a person. None of your daughters and daughters-in-law – None of your daughters and daughters-in-law called you up and said, ‘I’m going to have a blob of tissue.’ They called and said, ‘I’m going to have a baby.’
“Now, when I saw the 4-D pictures of my grandkids, something that didn’t even exist when my wife and I had our three. We’ve been married 41 years. Those things weren’t possible. I’m tired of hearing us say, ‘Oh, one day we can get a constitutional amendment.’ Maybe we can get the courts to overturn Roe v. Wade. I’ve got a better idea. Since it is a human being, we already have the constitutional protection. It’s called the Fifth Amendment that says there will be due process before you deprive a person of life or liberty. As president, we will invoke the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment. We will protect human life.(cheers, applause) . . .”
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal
“…So now Mitch McConnell, before the fight even starts, says we can’t defund Planned Parenthood. Folks, let me tell you something. If the Republican Party cannot defund Planned Parenthood, if we can’t make protecting innocent human life a winning issue nationally, what good is the Republican Party? It is time to fold up our tents and start a new movement.
“I’ll tell you what we did in Louisiana. We’re not just talking about defunding Planned Parenthood. When that first video came out, we launched an investigation with the FBI. We asked them, the state of Texas. Then the other videos came out. We canceled their Medicaid contract, so they’re getting no taxpayer dollars in the state of Louisiana.
“They didn’t like that. They decided to come protest at my house in Baton Rouge. Now, they’ve got a constitutional right to do that, but we’re Southerners. We like to provide hospitality. We put big projection screens and cameras out there, and I showed those Planned Parenthood videos over and over and over.
“Just so you know, it acts like insect repellent. You want to keep pests off your front yard? Well, they didn’t like that.
“Now they went to court. The Obama administration has joined them in court. He doesn’t have time to watch the videos; he’s got time to send his lawyers to Baton Rouge. I’ve got a message to President Obama, the Department of Justice: You might as well save your breath. You’re not going to intimidate us. We are going to defend innocent human life in the state of Louisiana….”
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham
“…Did anybody see the vote we have this week on the 20-week pain-capable bill? We got 54 votes, and that almost made no news. It was the first pro-life vote we’ve had in the Senate, really, since 2003.
“How many of you worked on the partial-birth abortion ban? All of us. Took 12 years. Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council has done more to highlight this issue than any group. So how about a round of applause for Tony?
“What this bill does is very important. We’re one of seven countries that allow abortion on demand at 20 weeks, the fifth month in the pregnancy. Does that make us a better people?”
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No!
“I’m trying to get us out of that club. Fifty-four votes, short of what we need but we will eventually get there because we’re not going to quit, are we?”
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No!
“And the theory of the case is pretty interesting. At 20 weeks, we’ve had children who have been born who are alive today. Roe v. Wade says the government has a compelling state interest to regulate abortions at the point of medical viability. In 1973 – do you think medicine has advanced since 1973? This is a really important debate for the pro-life movement because the theory of the case is not that we’re protecting the unborn because they’re medically viable; we’re protecting the unborn because they feel excruciating pain at 20 weeks.
“Medical science tells us that their pain sensors are more developed at that point in time than ours, and they have less defenses to guard against pain. And now medical science tells us that you can’t operate on an unborn child in the fifth month without providing anesthesia. So if you’re a doctor trying to save the baby’s life, because they feel pain you have to give that baby anesthesia. Isn’t it pretty logical to say you shouldn’t abort the baby if they can feel pain? That’s the theory of the case.
“Sixty percent of the American people are with us. My goal is to get it up into the 70s and one day have this become law, because I don’t want to live in a country that would allow a baby to have their head crushed, knowing that they can’t be operated on without anesthesia. There’s no anesthesia in the abortion. Think long and hard about who you are and what you want your country to be.
“I see that bill becoming law one day. It made it through the House and it made it through the Senate. Do you see Barack Obama signing that bill into law?”
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No.
“Do you see Hillary Clinton signing it into law?”
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No.
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No.
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No.
“Do you see anybody on the Republican side signing it into law?”
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: Yeah!
“How many of you see Planned Parenthood one day being defunded? Do you see that day occurring when Barack Obama’s president?”
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes!
“You do? OK.”
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes. Against his wishes, yes.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Strong in the Senate.
“This is good. This is – keep talking. Or have a good discussion among the family.
“I see a day when Planned Parenthood is defunded, and it goes like this: the House defunds Planned Parenthood, the Senate defunds Planned Parenthood, and the president of the United States signs a bill that would defund Planned Parenthood. Does that make sense?
“Do you think Hillary Clinton would sign a bill defunding Planned Parenthood?”
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: No.
“If she didn’t, then what would you have to do? Override her veto, right? And you would need how many votes? Sixty-seven.
“How about this? How about a day where the White House (is) in the hands of somebody that shares your values? How about that being 2017?”