Where do 2012 presidential candidates stand on reproductive rights?

6 Sep

With the 2012 elections fast approaching (less than 430 days until we cast our ballots) the perspective presidential field is becoming clearer.  With potential nominees like Donald Trump, Tim Pawlenty, and Mike Huckabee having already decided against running, the nomination is wide open.  Currently there are 4 or so people who seem to be the “front runners” in the race, and their views on reproductive rights are nothing short of alarming.

Ron Paul

Before entering politics in the 1970’s, Paul worked as an OB/GYN.  During his time in the medical field, he delivered more than 4,000 babies.  He says that this experience has led him to his view that life starts at conception.  Paul says that he is “an unshakable foe of abortion” and claims that he has never dealt with a pregnant woman who medically needed an abortion.  He was the prime sponsor of HR300, a bill that would overturn Roe v. Wade and put the power to regulate the legality of abortion in the state’s hands.  While Paul’s 2012 campaign has received more support than his 2008 campaign, it still seems unlikely that he will be able to secure the nomination.

Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann is the only woman being considered for the nomination, yet is one of the most anti-choice.  During her congressional campaigns she was endorsed by the Susan B. Anthony List, an organization that promotes women in politics who oppose the right to choose.  She also signed the “2012 Pro-life Presidential Leadership Pledge” which states that if elected president she will only nominate “pro-life” appointees to the Supreme Court and certain Cabinet and Executive Branch positions.  By signing the pledge she also promises to defund Planned Parenthood and advance anti-abortion legislation, if elected president.  At a recent debate she was asked if abortion should be allowed in cases of rape or incest, and in response she told the crowd that she was 100% pro-life.

Before getting involved in national politics, Bachmann and her husband volunteered as “sidewalk counselor” and frequently prayed outside abortion clinics.  She has spoken in support of other sidewalk counselors and worked to stop tax dollars going to hospitals that perform abortions.  Like Paul, Bachmann’s chances of getting the nomination are unlikely.

Mitt Romney

After an unsuccessful 2008 run, Mitt Romney is back to try for 2012 and seems to be the most likely nominee.  Romney has the experience, political support, and money to orchestrate a successful run– he is also the most moderate, but tends to flip-flop on important issues.

Until 2005 he identified as pro-choice and even made donations with his wife to Planned Parenthood.  While Romney stated that he personally opposed abortion, he strongly supported the right to access abortion services.  In 2005 though he did a complete flip-flop and vetoed a bill that would expand access to emergency contraception.  While not directly affecting abortion access, this signaled a change in his position on the matter.  It is still unclear what his specific views on abortion are.  He opted not to sign the Pro-Life Leadership Pledge that Michele Bachmann and other candidates signed, so this could be signaling another change in Romney’s personal views.  Even so, it seems unlikely that he would be able to gain the support he needs from the Conservative Republican leadership if he came out as pro-choice.  

Rick Perry

Aside from Romney, Rick Perry is probably the most likely candidate.  He has the power and connection to do it, and being Governor of Texas (as George W. Bush was before he was elected) doesn’t hurt either.  Perry also happens to be the most outwardly anti-choice of any of the candidates.  He too signed the Pro-Life Leadership Pledge, but that was almost unnecessary given the laws he’s been putting in place in Texas.  Earlier this year Perry labeled a new abortion regulation law as an “emergency”, pushing it into debate ahead of truly pressing issues like Texas’s unemployment and healthcare problems.  Recently key portions of that same law— which would have forced women wanting to have an abortion to see the fetus on a sonogram, listen to a heartbeat, hear a scripted anti-abortion speech read by their doctor, and wait another 24 hours before being allowed to have the procedure done— were struck down by a judge.  Perry has also worked to nearly eliminate all family planning funds and keep Texas schools teaching abstinence only education (even though it doesn’t work).

What about President Obama?

While we may not always be happy with how President Obama is representing the pro-choice movement, I think we can all agree that he is better than any of these people.  He may not always listen to our ideas, or react the way we would like him to, but there’s no way that any possible Republican nominee would be better.  It is important that we not blindly follow him, but it is also important that we look at the competition and realize how much worse it could be; and that is why I will be voting for Barak Obama in the 2012 elections.


15 Responses to “Where do 2012 presidential candidates stand on reproductive rights?”

  1. Sophia September 6, 2011 at 11:31 pm #

    I know it’s been said that Obama has given pro-choice activists many reasons to feel frustrated, but I can’t get over how far back all other candidates (at present) would take women’s rights were they elected. I am legitimately scared at the prospect. Thank you for this post, timely and very well written.

  2. anonymous September 7, 2011 at 12:18 pm #

    Fortunately, the election will be decided on the issue of the economy. Obama has quadrupled the deficit in less than three years. If you want to keep bringing up George Bush as the scapegoat keep in mind that it took him eight years (with a war going on)to do the same thing, and Obama said he (Bush) was a traitor for doing it. In my opinion, it’s about time for Obama to say “the buck stops here”. As for abortion, I believe it is wrong. You believe it is not. Politicians use it because it is expedient for them to do so. Some people will vote purely on this issue, but those pure idealogues are not in sufficient number to override the most pressing political issue facing Americans (the economy). Obama is a one-termer, and one of the GOP candidates will get elected, because the dems won’t put another candidate up against an incumbent, and the incumbent doesn’t have a plan. Look at his numbers. The ship is sinking.

  3. jovan1984 September 7, 2011 at 7:23 pm #

    Unfortunately, for you, anonymous, abortion will be a major issue in this election. Why? Because your precious TEA Party has made abortion an issue. From HR3 to defunding the most trusted name in women’s health care (Planned Parenthood) to signing onto the pledge that extreme misogynist group Susan B. Anthony’s List wrote, abortion will be an issue. It will be the #1 issue for me in 2012. And it will be a top issue for almost 7 in 20 center and left-leaning independents as well.

    Abortion may not trump the economy as the top issue, but it will be a major issue come 2012. You can thank the radicals in Washington; Raleigh; Nashville; Indianapolis; Topeka; Austin; Phoenix; Lincoln; Pierre; Lansing; Columbus, Ohio; Richmond; Tallahassee; Baton Rouge; Jefferson City; Trenton, N.J.; Concord, N.H. and Madison, Wis. for making abortion an issue in 2012.

  4. anonymous September 7, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

    Hello, jovan1984.

    I am not a member of the Tea Party, so your insult is ineffective. And yes, abortion is a major issue for me in any election. I believe by candidly stating my opposition to abortion, I indicated that. And really? Are you kidding? Susan B. Anthony a misogynist? Perhaps you need to look up the definition of misogynist, or read up on who Susan B. Anthony was. Maybe both. LOL.

    Seven in twenty does not a majority make, jovan. When the rubber hits the road, people would gladly say good-bye to Planned Parenthood (because there is a plethora of accessible low cost, health care services for women – i.e., county health departments, low cost clinics, etc…), and not really care if someone can or can’t get an abortion if it means they will be able to work and take care of their families. Whether you like it or not, economics trickle down, not up. Communism/Socialism is not sustainable – just ask the USSR. Oh, that’s right. You can’t, because it doesn’t exist any more.

    I don’t mean any disrespect to you, and yes, abortion will be widely discussed in the political discourse. But any impact of that discussion will more than likely not be favorable to the pro choice movement if the current climate is any indication.

  5. Alicia September 7, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

    Reading comprehension, anonymous. The Susan B. Anthony LIST is a misogynistic anti-choice organization.

    Furthermore, socialist parties have had power for many years in many European countries and they’re stable. Certainly suffering in this economic climate, but for the most part, they’re not any worse off than we are.

    Finally, I think you overestimate these candidates. I think you’ll find that they’re far too extreme for most moderates who may not be resoundingly pro-choice but are certainly more willing to allow women control of their bodies than these wingnuts. If you want your candidates to win, I’d suggest writing them letters telling them to shut up about their social conservatism, which will turn off most American citizens.

  6. anonymous September 7, 2011 at 11:52 pm #


    Digging below the surface for better comprehension, Alicia. Here’s a quote from Susan B. Anthony who was vociferously against abortion, to the point of calling it “child murder”.

    “When a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is a sign that, by education or circumstances, she has been greatly wronged.”

    Purely socialistic/communistic countries. Name one that is stable, that does not have an opposing party keeping it in check.

    I don’t overestimate any political candidate, and I never said any of them were “my” candidate, or that I wanted them to win. I am merely pointing out that abortion will not be a helpful issue for democrats in the 2012 election. To quote James Carville, “It’s the economy, stupid”.

    Elective abortion access has been taking some pretty serious hits lately, and thanks to technology’s more detailed peek into the womb, it’s becoming rather distasteful baggage for dems. Everyone knows that the moderates will bend in favor of strong economic policy rather than social issues. Obama has swung way left of those moderates, and they won’t be as loyal to him as his own ‘wingnuts’will be.

    Oh….and check your statistical data concerning how many people i.d. themselves as ‘conservative'(I believe it’s currently running 57% to 37% in favor of conservative), and then start writing some letters of your own. You might want to tell someone else to shut up. 🙂

  7. anonymous September 7, 2011 at 11:55 pm #

    ps. people who identified themselves as moderates barely showed up on the poll, as you can see.

  8. Dee September 8, 2011 at 4:45 pm #


    The SBA List is very much a misogynistic group, regardless of what Susan B. Anthony herself was (a feminist). You keep bringing up the woman and ignoring that the earlier points were made about the group that was named after her.

    Furthermore, you say that Dems are distancing themselves from abortion. I don’t know whether you’re right or not about that, but I DO know that the GOP is the party that obsesses about women’s reproductive health (about restricting access to health services) despite their endless talk of the economy and jobs. They were elected on a platform of “Mr. President, where are the jobs?” but since taking a majority, they have introduced a number of social issues bills that dwarfs any economic bills they’ve managed to propose.

    Regarding your data on whether people self-identify as “liberal” or “conservative”, I have to say it’s deceptive. Yes, a great majority of people identify themselves as conservative. That would be because conservatives have worked tirelessly over the history of this nation to demonize the word liberal. Check out any primary debate. GOP candidates are trying to convince the voters that they are more conservative than the next guy. Then look at a Democratic primary. No one is trying to convince the others that they are more liberal than the next guy. The discourse of this country has moved to the right, so people do not identify as liberal.

    If you poll people on a variety of issues, however, the poll goes to the opposite side. Most people, when presented with specific issues, will fall on the liberal side of the question. It is only in the nomenclature that they are adamant conservatives. The country is actually more liberal than it believes itself to be.

  9. anonymous September 8, 2011 at 8:28 pm #


    If being anti-abortion is misogynistic, then Susan B. Anthony was a misogynist. Laughable. It is your opinion that anti-abortion = misogynist. It would only be consistent for a group bearing Anthony’s name to be anti-abortion, since she was herself.

    I didn’t say dems were distancing themselves from abortion. I said it was distasteful baggage. Support for candidates who are pro-life, however, is growing (in case you haven’t noticed the recent state level surge in anti abortion legislation). Maybe the dems would be smart to unload the baggage?

    The polling about conservatism vs. liberalism was Politico’s most recent. They’re not notorious for being slanted to the right in their polling. And Young Turks are so openly liberal/progressive/partisan in their opinions that I’m suprised even you would try to prop them as reliable. Please. How could conservatives possibly demonize liberalism? Like liberals demonize conservatism? Sorry, thinking individuals know that a movement/cause/ideology stands or falls on it’s own merits. If we follow your reasoning, then we can say that most women really do regret their abortions, but the pro abortion feminist movement has worked tirelessly to convince them they don’t. Aboslutely no basis in fact. We can only believe what people say, and opine about what they don’t.

    Abortion doesn’t even make the list for top issues that voters are concerned about. Even if you glom it into healthcare, the majority of voters do not approve of the healthcare plan Obama rammed down their throats, i.e. they are more conservative in their opinions about healthcare.

    Hey – I certainly make no bones about where I stand on abortion. I will consistently vote for candidates who run on a pro-life platform. I also believe that more people are turning right. Liberals hang so much hope on moderates/independents – maybe because they know their numbers aren’t sufficient to win elections. I’m just trying to illuminate the fact that the middle class voters who identify as moderate/independent are not going to give a rat’s butt if some welfare recipient is able to get her abortion, or her free birth control, or her free health screening. They’re going to go with the candidate who’s not bankrupting the country and destroying the economy. This will not be president Obama.

  10. Dee September 8, 2011 at 10:34 pm #

    “If being anti-abortion is misogynistic, then Susan B. Anthony was a misogynist.”

    Actually, SBA’s stance on abortion is disputed.

    Furthermore, SBA’s stance is complicated by the fact that the procedure was infinitely more dangerous in her time than it is in ours. But, for the sake of argument, let’s say I grant you that SBA was antichoice. That is not the reason that the SBA LIST is misogynist. There is a wide variety of reasons, most notably their support of candidates that oppose the Equal Pay Act. SBA would be appalled by the candidates the SBA List endorses. Expressing disapproval for the group is not tantamount to expressing disapproval for the woman, something which you STILL refuse to comprehend or acknowledge.


    “The polling about conservatism vs. liberalism was Politico’s most recent. They’re not notorious for being slanted to the right in their polling. And Young Turks are so openly liberal/progressive/partisan in their opinions that I’m suprised even you would try to prop them as reliable. Please.”

    Once again, I have to call your comprehension skills into question. The Young Turks (which I never denied was liberal) reported a story they saw on Politico. Neither organization created the research cited, nor did they participate in the polling. The research was done by nonpartisan organizations such as Pew Research Center, Gallup, and the National Science Foundation (administered by the University of Michigan). The source materials and methodology are cited under the Youtube video I linked. Don’t dismiss information without reading properly.

    “Abortion doesn’t even make the list for top issues that voters are concerned about.”

    Umm, that’s exactly what I said above. Americans, liberal and moderate, list the economy and the deficit as their top issues. The Republicans claim they were “given a mandate” by “the American public” (a laughable term, considering the variety of political opinions contained in this country) to fix the economy when they were elected to a House majority in 2010. You claim Democrats should embrace antichoice views to grow their numbers, then state that Americans don’t cite abortion as their top issue. You can’t have it both ways, either abortion matters to the electorate, or it doesn’t.
    Meanwhile, the GOP claims to care about the economy, so why is it that Reproductive Rights have been the GOP’s top target since being elected into office, rather than, say unemployment? The Dems don’t care about abortion (sadly), but the GOPers are the ones campaigning/winning elections on the economy, only to turn around and obsess about abortion.

    “They’re going to go with the candidate who’s not bankrupting the country and destroying the economy. This will not be president Obama.”

    This isn’t the appropriate place to go into why we do or do not support President Obama, but I would like to point out that his predecessor is the one who tanked the economy. Obama then made the chaos greater by continuing his predecessor’s policies. I will not be voting for Obama in 2012…because he’s right of center. If he had been president in the 1950s, his policies would be considered Republican. It’s only in the post-Reagan world that Obama is considered a “liberal”, which is hilarious to those of us who are truly liberal progressives.

  11. anonymous September 9, 2011 at 12:07 am #

    Here is a quote by SBA about abortion –

    “Much as I deplore the horrible crime of child-murder, earnestly as I desire its suppression, I cannot believe … that such a law would have the desired effect. It seems to me to be only mowing off the top of the noxious weed, while the root remains. We want prevention, not merely punishment. We must reach the root of the evil, and destroy it.”

    This quote appeared in the paper she published, signed by “A”. The speculation that this quote is not attributed to her comes from two very biased individuals – and speculation is all it is. After reading the wikipedia article, et al, the weight of the evidence tips toward SBA “deploring” the crime of abortion. As for me, I find it very easy to believe that a feminist can be anti abortion, while you apparently find it very hard to believe. That’s why “pro choice” is a much more narrow position than anyone “pro choice” cares to admit. But arguing about who gets to “claim” SBA is really pointless, but very amusing.

    I did not claim that democrats should embrace anti-choice views. I said that given the current sentiment concerning abortion, liberals might stop trying to shove it into prominence on the party platform. I didn’t even suggest it would grow their numbers, but if a liberal politician thought that denouncing abortion would get them votes, I think they would do it in a heart beat – because you see, they don’t ‘care’ about women either……they just want votes.

    “Obama then made the chaos greater by continuing his predecessor’s policies.”

    In record time. He quadrupled the deficit in two years, compared to Bush doing it in eight. Just think where we will be if he gets another term – and when it’s done on your back, it doesn’t matter who is doing it.

    “I will not be voting for Obama in 2012”

    Wonderful!! The democrats won’t nominate another candidate due to his incumbency, so a vote not cast for Obama is a vote for a republican. Thanks.

  12. anonymous September 9, 2011 at 12:17 am #

    PS. I happen to be employed in a field that offers reasonable job security (and it’s not a government job yet, still in the world of free enterprise and capitalism), so while the economy is a very important issue for me (just because I don’t want to see this great country destroyed), I have the luxury of considering the (also very important) side issue of abortion, and making my voting decision based upon whether or not a candidate has strong economic policy, and is unapologetically pro life. Favorable to my position is the crummy job the democrats are doing.

  13. anonymous September 9, 2011 at 1:29 am #

    and for cryin’ out loud, don’t make more of the word ‘luxury’ than I intended. I’m just pointing out that pro life will vote pro life, far left feminist progressives will vote pro abortion, and everyone that’s not a fringe group will vote “It’s the economy, stupid”.

    Prediction – Republican in the White House 2012.

  14. Dee September 9, 2011 at 10:53 am #

    Again, you focus on SBA and ignore the various anti-woman policies of the List named after her, policies that would disgust SBA herself.

    Again, you ignore the polling data.

    Again, you claim that I disagree that the economy will be the driving force behind this election (“everyone that’s not a fringe group will vote “It’s the economy, stupid”) when I have explicitly state that it WILL be all about the economy.

    “Prediction – Republican in the White House 2012.”

    Why? While the Democrats are avoiding social issues, the GOP has been focusing almost exclusively on abortion. If you maintain that the economy is what will win or lose this election for either party, then why would the moderates elect a party that has ignored the economy in favor of social legislation? I’m not saying the Democrats are going to win, but I am saying that the GOP has yet to BEGIN searching for those jobs they were going on about in 2010. It’s been all about abortion for them.

    “a vote not cast for Obama is a vote for a republican. Thanks.”

    You’re welcome. When the POTUS continues the use of torture, shames us with human rights abuses, curtails civil liberties, bankrupts the country and the world by refusing to tax and legislate, refuses to end expensive occupations of foreign countries, destroys the environment by letting energy companies do whatever they want, destroys the social safety net, etc- when the President of the United States does that, I’d rather be able to point at him and say “He’s a Republican.” Because if he’s a DINO, like Obama is, then I have to hang my head in shame for helping to elect him. If it’s a Republican doing all those vile things, at least I can say, “He doesn’t play for my team!” Many on the Left feel as I do. If it costs Dems the next election, so be it. I will not vote for a candidate who betrays everything that our party stands for.

  15. Jameson September 12, 2011 at 8:17 am #


    1) Have the guts to leave a name when you spread your lies. Even if it’s just a fake one. But then, most of you pro-liars don’t have courage, the real kind that our doctors and caregivers show every time they go inside a Planned Parenthood or other abortion care clinic and have to wonder if this is the day a terrorist is going to assassinate them.

    2) There’s nothing wrong with being pro-abortion. Read the book Abortion: A Positive Decision. There are countless stories of women who had abortions and then used that experience to become better people, whether through realizing what it was they wanted to do with their lives, getting a decent education or just being better parents for the time when they did decide to have children. Abortion saves lives too, just ask any woman who grew up during the pre-Roe era. Or would you rather we go back to women dying from self-inflicted wounds? (God help you, I believe you and most pro-liars really would.) Get the book Our Bodies, Our Selves and check out the chapter on abortion. There’s a graphic picture of a woman dead from an illegal abortion, blood and all. She was someone’s friend, loved one. If you think that poor woman deserved to suffer and die because she wasn’t able to access legal abortion care and so resorted to desperation, then you are a disgusting human being and I have no respect for you. Existing life (an already-born woman) is ALWAYS more important than and takes precedence over “potential” life (zygotes, embryoes, fetuses). (Besides, by shutting down good clinics, you only help to ensure that the very, very few unethical practitioners like Gosnell who exist continue to flourish.)

    3) Hope you like living in a theocratic regime. Also read The Handmaid’s Tale. It will give you a good idea of how you can expect to live (especially if you’re female) if America screws up the 2012 elections as bad as the 2010 ones and lets in one of these Rethuglicans. Obama ain’t perfect but he’s sure a helluva lot better than the alternative. (Actually, I really wish a pro-woman candidate like Hillary Clinton would run/win.)

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