Monday, May 2, 2011

Comparing Records on Life

I consider there to be four serious republican candidates for president, Huckabee, Romney, Pawlenty, and Daniels (if Daniels decides to get in). I wanted to compare their records as governors in passing legislation to reduce abortions.

First is Mitt Romney. He doesn't really have much of a record on life as governor, not having had much of an opportunity to pass restricting legislation and not being proactive to introduce such legislation. He did hold the line on abortion legislation while governor, just as he promised he would. He did not allow expanded abortion rights, and vetoed stem cell research funding. He is not to be blamed for the $50 abortions as they were already law before he became governor. If Bosman or one of our other in the know Romney supporters can add more, or correct me, I am open to that.

Mike Huckabee signed many bills while governor that promoted life. He signed bills: banning partial birth abortion; establishing a woman's right to know, ensuring that her consent to an abortion is an informed one; mandate parental notification and consent for abortions performed on minors; requiring doctors to inform pregnant women considering abortions that the fetus does feel pain; providing immunity from criminal prosecution for women who give birth then abandon the baby at a medical facility; criminalizing assault on a pregnant woman; and funding for "Choose Life" license plates.

An article from National Review claims that Tim Pawlenty May Be the Strongest Pro-Life Candidate in 2012 . His record is pretty good, but he passed fewer laws than Huckabee did.

Pawlenty signed into law the Woman’s Right to Know Act, giving women information about abortion risks and alternatives as well as information on fetal development. Minnesota was also the first to give women information on fetal pain — coming well in advance of the new trend of banning abortions based on that scientific concept, which Nebraska started last year. The former governor followed up that bill by signing the Unborn Child Pain Prevention Act in 2005 to give women even more information on the pain their babies feel during an abortion.

In 2005 he signed the Positive Alternatives to Abortion Act to make Minnesota one of just a handful of states that send public funds to pregnancy centers providing tangible support for pregnant women and abortion alternatives.

...Governor Pawlenty issued a proclamation in 2010 designating the month of April as “Abortion Recovery Month” and urging agencies in the state to help women who are suffering problems following their abortions.

Pawlenty also vetoed a bill that would have legalized human cloning and signed a bill banning funding of human cloning.

The article provides statistics that during Pawlenty's administration abortions have dropped 14%. That's great. But as I researched statistics I found that nationwide abortion rates have been dropping over the last 20 years. So whether the drop in MN is a direct result of laws passed by Pawlenty or a more indirect result in a cultural change in the US, it is not possible to say with certainty.

It has been more difficult to find a list of the laws that Daniels has signed. I did find that he signed laws that "requires health care professionals to provide a pregnant woman with the options of obtaining an ultrasound and of listening to the fetus’ heartbeat before performing an abortion." And another bill "requiring abortion clinics to abide by the same safety and health standards as other outpatient surgical clinics." And his administration "authorized a “Choose Life” license plate."

But the most significant development is HEA bill 1210 which Daniels will sign within the next week or so. It will cut off $2 million in federal funding to Planned Parenthood that would have been used to provide abortion services. "In addition to Planned Parenthood losing 2/3 of its funding, bill 1210 will lower the window for women to have abortions to 20 weeks, as well as, require doctors to inform their patients that abortions can lead to infertility issues, and that fetuses can feel pain around 20 weeks." Indianna will be the first state to defund Planned Parenthood.

In 2008 there was really one candidate for SoCons to rally around, Mike Huckabee. As much as I admire Romney and believe that his conversion to life is legitimate, he is never going to be a standard bearer for the life movement. The great thing in 2012 is that there are now three candidates with very strong records of achievement in promoting life and restricting abortions.

However, there is one candidate that stands on a pinnacle far above all the others for achievement in restricting abortions and that is Mitch Daniels. The laws signed by Pawlenty and Huckabee are very important and they should be praised highly for signing them. It is lamentable that Romney didn't work to protect life with the dedication that those two governors did. But, while they were attempting to chop down the forest of abortions in their states with axes, Mitch Daniels plowed into his forest with a bulldozer.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dan, good post, and thanks for the info. I agree with you, with only a mild difference of opinion.

I think you may be giving Daniels slightly more credit than is due, because to my knowledge he didn't craft the legislation, only supported it, and honestly, I don't know what other choice he had. I'm open to being convinced he had an option, after all he has a pro-life record, and being the fiscal guy he is, it was a no-brainer.

He's actually fortunate that it came across his desk, as many other Republican governors would jump at the chance to sign such legislation right now. Pawlenty would almost certainly have done so. Romney would have never been given such an bill, and you're right, he never went out looking for a pro-life cause.

I don't mean not give Daniels credit where credit is due. It's a great feather in his cap, especially in light of all the awful things that have been said about him since the truce comment.

I also don't think politics played much of a role. Call me naive, but he seems like a man of principle. The kind of guy who lets the chips fall. But it sure doesn't hurt.

-Martha

Anonymous said...

The good news is that Daniels/Indiana has busted the 24 week gestational viability cutoff.

-Martha

DanL said...

Martha, I think that Daniels played a very, very large part in this landmark piece of new legislation. He may not have drafted any of it, that is not what I am getting at. What he did is campaign tirelessly in 2010 for republican candidates for the IN legislature. He turned a democrat legislature republican. Without his efforts in 2010 this legislation would never have been drafted. While I don't know, I suspect that the new republican legislature had this piece of legislation as a top priority this year, to get it passed while republicans had the legislature and the governorship, and to give Daniels a coup d'etat piece of legislation to sign to his credit.

Anonymous said...

If that is true Dan, then good for him. Pro-lifers better stop mumbling about the truce.

-Martha

BOSMAN said...

Dan check out FAQ: Mitt Romney on Abortion

also:Mitt Romney on Abortion / Stem Cell Research

Revolution 2010 said...

Now rank these same 4 as to who would be best for a poor economy?

Pro-Life is important, it's only one ingredient in the POTUS I want.

Granny T said...

I'm thankful that Daniels was able to sign the bill. No one could try telling me Huckabee wouldn't have only signed it but would also have been out there drumming up support IF the medical evidence would have been available when he was Gov. Here's a link for people to see how hard Huckabee worked toward pro-life and pro-family legislation that was "outlined by Jerry Cox" (founder and president of the Family Council)

DanL said...

Revolution, I am hoping to make comparisons of these four on other issues in the future too. I chose life as the first comparison because of this momentous bill that Daniels is poised to sign.

DanL said...

Granny, I lauded Huck for all the bills he passed. His record is first rate.

However, did he ever defund Planned Parenthood? He lived in the deep South in the Bible Belt. He had just as good of an opportunity to work like Daniels did to get state legislators elected. The fact is, Daniels did more than Huckabee.

DanL said...

Bosman, I sincerely thank you for those links.

DanL said...

Also, please note that in this article I wasn't interested in what the candidates have said about abortion/life. I didn't care about debates, life rallies, advertisements, campaign stops. Talk is cheap. I was only interested in comparing what bills they have signed into law.

Noelle said...

Good post DanL. Thanks.

Granny T said...

DanL,
I don't even know if Planned Parenthood was funded in Arkansas in the first place. Do you know that it was? Do you have a link for that information?

DanL said...

Granny, I don't know if PP in AK was ever funded. But the article that I linked to that talked about HAE 1210 in IN said that when PP is defunded in IN it will be the first state to defund PP.

Anonymous said...

I have been waiting to see the long term effects of romneycare on abortion rates in Massachusettes.

An abortion study was done in Kansas in which the researcher concluded access to health care had the greatest effect on reducing abortions. The study also noted abortions tended to increase during recessions or economic uncertainty so I've wondered what Massachussettes trend has been prior and since romneycare was implemented.

Dan, if the study proved accurate, Romney may have done more then you think to reduce abortions, despite what the courts required.

DanL said...

Anonymous,

Romney holding the line is a good thing. Certainly it is better than letting things slip further towards the choice side of the fight. If abortion rates declined in MA since Romney was in office that is a great thing. But it is silly to say that it has anything to do with any laws that Romney signed. He didn't do anything to reduce abortions, he only held the line. And as I noted above, abortion rates have been declining nationwide for the last 20 years. Declines in MA would likely be incidental.

Anonymous said...

and....which states did all these conservative governors govern in? and which were blue and which were red? so who had the biggest hurddle when it came to conservavtive views being implemented in their state? how many conservative legislators did each have? i think when you throw in the degree of difficulty, the out come can be seen in a totally different light.

DanL said...

Anonymous,

If Romney gave a rip about life he could have picked a red state to run for governor in and could have made changes in that state. He chose to run for governor of MA because he wanted to be president, not because he had any desire to reduce abortions.

The other three governors all had democrat legislatures to deal with, but they also lived in states with significant numbers of church goers. It would be ridiculous to say that MN is any less democratic than MA, but he still managed to pass a lot of abortion restricting legislation. Daniels couldn't pass much, until he personally campaigned and worked to replace democrat legislators with republican legislators.

The Romney supporters constantly fall back on that argument of...poor Mitt was surrounded by liberals, he couldn't really do much. That's a nice cop out when his record doesn't measure up to the other governor's records, but a lot of voters are going to get weary of hearing that.

hamaca said...

Dan,

So Romney should have shown up at the door of any red state and said, hey, I've never lived here, but can I be your Governor? Right.

As far as which of these states is the most liberal/democrat and the notion that MN and MA are equal, here are the breakdowns in the state legislatures as of 2010 for the four states in question:

Arkansas: House D 54-45; Senate D 20-15
Minnesota: House R 72-62; Senate R 37-30
Massachusetts: House D 128-31; Senate D 36-4
Indiana: House R 60-40; Senate R 37-13

If Minnesota were so liberal, no way they're going to vote in a Republican majority even in 2010. Look at what they each were dealing with. I doubt the breakdown in party lines has changed all that dramatically in the past few elections other than a few more Republicans in 2010.

If Mitt held the line in a state such as MA, especially if the legislature there tried to pass more liberal abortion legislation and the other Governors signed good, but peripheral abortion legislation (given that abortion is still legal in all states), I'd say it was about even. Hopeful result in all states: fewer abortions than would otherwise have been the case without their intervention.

To suggest Mitt should have introduced anti-abortion legislation in MA is silly. Sure he could have done it. It would have been shot down so fast and would have been labeled a gimmick, "because he just wanted to be President." I'm starting to see a trend here.

DanL said...

Hamaca, thanks for providing that information on the legislatures. Are those numbers pre-election or post election? What about other years in which Daniels and Pawlenty served in their states?

Of course Romney couldn't have served as a governor in the south. But he could have in Utah if he had been so inclined. There may have been some other western states that he could have as well if he had carpet bagged the way that Hillary did in NY.

I was pretty fair to Romney in the original blog, but it is apparent that Romney supporters can't take any criticism, no matter how light, of their candidate. Better buckle up.

DanL said...

I also have to say that Rombots could have just let this go by without fighting and it would have been a strategic win for them. Romney is not going to be winning SoCons in any great numbers. But if it can be shown to the SoCon movement that there are more viable choices than Huckabee, that hurts Huckabee as it softens his support. Why do the Rombots feel the need to argue this? Foolish strategy.

hamaca said...

Dan,

I'm not disputing your portrayal of the SoCons perception of Romney nor your point regarding more candidates taking pieces of the same pie and that actually being beneficial. I was challenging your notion that they all had roughly equal legislatures to deal with.

Correcting facts such as these does not of itself mean someone is unable to deal with criticism. In fact, I fail to actually see any criticism of Romney in your post and comments at all--just analysis.

Not denying there are Romney supporters who do have the troubles you describe, though. Not healthy.

Btw, those numbers are post-2010 elections. I don't have the numbers for prior years, but my point was that despite the Republican landslide in 2010, MA is still what it is--entrenched liberals with no propensity for changing, unlike the other states, including MN. If that doesn't convince you that MA is a significant outlier on the political spectrum when compared with MN, I'd be surprised.

hamaca said...

I also have a hard time accepting that Romney could have shown up in Michigan after 40 years or any western state including Utah without living there at least a decade and been competitive running for governor.

DanL said...

hamaca, thank you for providing the numbers for the state legislatures, even if it undermines my argument.

hamaca said...

Dan--no problem at all, it's an important debate to have and, as you allude to, many honest people will have genuine concerns about Romney and his record.

Anonymous said...

Dan, Romney's home is Mass. He raised his family there. Not Utah or any other state.

I always thought that argument-that Romney should have tried to be gov in a different state-was silly.

-Martha

Anonymous said...

i was not upset with critisims of romney....i just pointed out a fact that no one has mentioned in their blogs, comaprisons, or media articles....no one has entertained the angle of which conservative governor(s) have had a more degree of difficulty...wow! and y'all think romney supporters just don't like critisim....it is a legitiment argument and discussion that no one is giving credit where credit is due....that's all....i would love to have seen what huck, tpaw, and daniels would have done given the same circumstances as mitt had......is that so awful a thought for discussion? wow! i just think it is interesting and even more intersting that no one is willing to accept the concept of the degree of difficulty! that being said i hear from all is that if you are conservative that you can not run for political office in a blue state...how sad is that when so many conseratives could help the conservative movement by getting elected to the blue states and chipping away at the liberal agenda...if only staying the line so that liberal policies don't get even more intrenched.