Candidates Address National Right to Life Convention

Friday morning four Republican 2008 presidential candidates addressed the second day of the annual National Right to Life Convention (NRLC) in Kansas City, Missouri.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney attempted to dispel his reputation of flip-flopping on abortion. He discussed his conversion to the anti-abortion cause, which he credits to debate in 2004 over stem cell research and human cloning. From the Associated Press:

"My experience as governor taught me firsthand that the threat to our culture is real," Romney said. "When responsibility for life or ending life was placed in my hands, I made the right decision."

Earlier this week the McCain campaign circulated a video of Romney from 2005 reiterating his commitment to Massachusetts laws allowing abortion.

Joining the infighting, Senator Sam Brownback emphasized Romney's changing positions on abortion and questioned his conversion. Despite low numbers in the polls, Brownback was greeted warmly at the conference as he touted his consistently extreme position against reproductive rights.

Representatives Ron Paul and Duncan Hunter also spoke during the convention forum today.

The GOP's current lead contender, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, did not attend the conference—whose attendees are unlikely to vote for him, based on his mostly pro-choice position.

Yesterday, former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson (whose reproductive health positions are even more extreme than President Bush) addressed the NRLC via video (emphasis mine):

In 1994, I made my first run for the U.S. Senate. I was proud to receive the National Right to Life endorsement. I've been with you ever since. You've been with me ever since. On abortion related votes I've been 100 percent. We've had a lot of different kind of issues come up in the Senate from federal funding to stem cell research, Roe versus Wade and the partial birth abortion debate or as former Senator Pat Moynihan of New York used to say it's more like infanticide than partial birth abortion.

Thompson has not announced intentions to run for president in 2008.

With the refusal of the NRLC to take a position on birth control, NARAL issued five questions (PDF) for Romney and Brownback as they prepared to address the conference:

1. You support overturning Roe v. Wade. Doesn't that mean you support government interference in personal, private medical decisions that should be made between a woman, her family, and her doctor?

2. If you believe abortion should be outlawed and that doctors who provide abortion care should face criminal charges, then do you also believe women should be sent to prison for terminating a pregnancy?

3. Ninetynine percent of Americans believe it is appropriate for young people to have information about STDs, and 94 percent of Americans think it is appropriate to teach young people about birth control. Do you support honest, realistic, ageappropriate sex education?

4. Do you think it's okay for a pharmacy to refuse to fill a woman's prescription for birth control based on an employee's personal views against contraception?

5. Do you believe hospital emergency rooms should be allowed to withhold information from a rape survivor about emergency contraception—which can prevent a pregnancy if taken soon after the assault?

If these extreme candidates want to reduce abortion, they should support effective prevention methods such as comprehensive sexuality education, emergency contraception, family planning and support for pregnant women, children and families.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

For more information or to schedule an interview with contact

  • invalid-0

    According to the Kansas City Star, Duncan Hunter failed to appear.

    I wonder what Ron Paul said? He is an OBGYN, and for that reason I would think he is more qualified than most to speak on the topic of pregnancy, birth, and abortion.

  • invalid-0

    It’s ridiculous that all the reporting on this event has been about Mitt Romeny and Fred Thompson. The only doctor, an OBGYN no less who has delivered thousands of babies, Ron Paul, not his opinion, nor a single remark is included… astonishing…


  • invalid-0

    I also find it interesting that other saying “Representatives Ron Paul and Duncan Hunter also spoke….” there wasn’t any mention of Ron Paul who is also running for President. And newspapers wonder why their circulation is falling.

    Here’s an idea.

    Report the news, and stop trying to spin it.

  • invalid-0

    Yup. No mention of Paul, even though he’s ahead of Brownback in the polls and an OBGYN.

    “Rudy McRomneySon or Bust” I guess.

  • invalid-0

    You guys captured my thoughts exactly. Was Dr Paul there? Why can I not find a word anywhere – AP, local KC news, ANY press – about what he shared?

    Maybe someone recorded the speech and I can watch it on YouTube tomorrow…

  • invalid-0

    Why no words on what Ron Paul said?

  • invalid-0

    If these extreme candidates want to reduce abortion….

    Wanting to prohibit female patients from making their own medical decisions and wanting to reduce abortion are two separate issues. Let’s not play along with the propaganda by not pointing out the difference between the two.

  • tyler-lepard

    Good point, emaa. Thank you for your comment.

  • tyler-lepard

    Good question… as of Monday morning, I still can't find reports of what Rep. Ron Paul said at the NRLC on Friday. I'm not intentionally leaving him out; if anyone has a source, please share.





  • invalid-0

    Ron Paul likely said what he said at the RTL meeting here in NH on June 22nd…

    He is anti-abortion and has never had a problem while delivering 4,000 babies.

    He would leave it up to the states, but would definitely repeal R vs W.

    GO Ron GO!