Presidential contenders: Low fundraising numbers, high Pro-Life scores

As of July 15, President Obama and Mitt Romney are blazing ahead of the competition in fundraising for their respective Presidential campaigns. Second quarter earnings data for the 2012 presidential campaigns released by the Federal Election Commission reveal that Obama has garnered the most support at $45.5 million, with Romney following at $18.3 million. At this early stage, as the incumbent, Obama has the upper hand and among the Republican challengers, Romney’s name recognition gives him an edge. But with the public becoming increasingly dissatisfied with Obama's policies, and—as recent state legislation has shown—increasingly pro-life, their advantages may end there. Obama has maintained a 100% score from NARAL; Romney was a pro-choice Massachusetts governor from 2002 to 2007 until he suddenly became pro-life just prior to the 2008 elections. But some of the other Presidential challengers, while low on funds, score high marks on Life issues.

For example, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum has raised a meager $0.6 million, yet has a strong pro-life voting record. He is well-known for leading the charge against partial birth abortion when President Clinton vetoed the ban against it in 1997. Santorum has also authored legislation in favor of adult stem cell research, fought to pass the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, and the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. Beyond the abortion issue, he helped pass the Individuals with Disability Education Act and the Combating Autism Act. Santourm has been endorsed by Kim Lehman, former executive director of Iowa Right to Life.

Another pro-life stalwart is Tim Pawlenty, former two-term Governor of Minnesota. He signed the Woman's Right to Know Act into law during his first year as governor in 2003. He went on in 2005 to sign the Unborn Child Pain Prevention Act, which informs women about the pain felt by the unborn during an abortion, and the Positive Alternatives to Abortion Act, which grants funds to pregnancy resource centers. He also vetoed a human cloning bill, named April “Abortion Recovery Month,” promoted perinatal hospice care, and appointed a pro-life judge. He has raised $4.5 million.

Newt Gingrich, likewise has a stellar pro-life record, but his campaign is $1 million in debt and has major staffing problems. The former Speaker of the House may or may not be able to turn things around. However, he has outlined an ambitious strategy for protecting Life. If elected, he would aim to end subsidies for abortion providers by repealing Obamacare, defunding Planned Parenthood, and reinstating the Mexico City Policy; protect health care workers' right to conscience; and protect the infirm and elderly from death panels.

Michele Bachmann has a spotless pro-life record, earning a 100% score from National Right to Life Committee since being elected to the U. S. House Representatives in 2007 to the present. She also earned a 100% score from Minnesota Concerned Citizens for Life (a NRLC state affiliate) for her 2001-2006 service as a Minnesota state Senator. She voted in favor of key legislation including the Woman's Right to Know Act and the Positive Alternatives to Abortion Act in the Minnesota state Senate, and the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act in the U. S. House.

Ron Paul's campaign has raised $4.5 million. Paul has represented the 14th Congressional district of Texas since 1997 as a pro-life Libertarian and has earned an average 83% pro-life score from National Right to Life Committee. He has voted with NRLC on all pro-life legislation with a few exceptions, such as consistently voting against a human cloning ban, the Child Interstate Abortion Notification Act, and the Pain Relief Promotion Act, which would have banned the use of controlled substances for assisted suicide.

Herman Cain, successful businessman, radio talk show host, and Tea Party supporter, has no public voting record, but he has been outspoken on Planned Parenthood's anti-Black history and agenda, and has affirmed his generally pro-life views. He has recently taken some heat for not signing the Susan B. Anthony pro-life pledge, but he has asserted in a statement that he supports every aim of the pledge except for one: advancing the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. Cain says that the role of president is not to advance legislation, but to sign or veto it. He has raised $2.6 million. It is not known how much is self-financed.

And now for the one exception: Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico, has raised $0.2 million. He does not identify himself as pro-life, but instead maintains that government should remain “neutral” on social issues, including abortion. He made the following statement on his website, “Life is precious and must be protected. A woman should be allowed to make her own decisions during pregnancy until the point of viability of a fetus.”

National Right to Life has reported that, in 2010 and 2011, the number of pro-life bills passed by the states has nearly doubled. If this recent pro-life energy is any indication of the will of the people, voters will soon take notice of these lesser-known pro-life candidates.

Images of Pawlenty, Gingrich, and Cain courtesy of Gage Skidmore.