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The nation’s top Republican presidential prospects have joined the fight against Planned Parenthood, issuing near unanimous opposition this week to the use of tax dollars to help fund the women’s health organization that provides abortions.
“Recent undercover videos show that employees of America’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, aided alleged human traffickers wishing to exploit young girls,” former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said. “Yet, they continue to receive significant taxpayer funding. That should come to an end.”
Pawlenty was among a host of prospective presidential candidates to share their opposition in statements provided to the anti-abortion group the Susan B. Anthony List. The Monday release of the collection of statements comes as Congressional negotiators spar over whether to include a rider known as the Pence amendment, which has a minimal budget impact, in the larger budget bill that must be addressed this week to avert a government shutdown.
Other Republicans who have now formalized their objections include former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) and pizza magnate Herman Cain round out the list.
“I support a halt to any federal funds going to America’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood,” Barbour said in a statement provided to the SBA List.
Palin had this to say: “I join Rep. Mike Pence and others of conscience and common sense who are leading the charge to end the taxpayer funding of the nation’s largest abortion provider. We recognize that not only is our country buried under Mt. McKinley-sized debt, but that the truest measure of any society is how it treats those who are least able to defend and speak for themselves.”
Paul offered this statement to the SBA List: "As a father, Christian and obstetrician, I find it shameful that our government uses the tax dollars of citizens to fund Planned Parenthood,” he said. “I have also introduced ... legislation prohibiting any federal official from spending any federal funds for any population control or population planning program or any family planning activity."
The SBA List was not able to obtain direct statements from every candidate. The Romney camp, for example, declined to respond to the request, but instead told the National Review Online simply that “Mitt Romney supports the Pence amendment.”
”We need to demand this Congress vote to defund Planned Parenthood. Our tax dollars should never be used to provide abortions and our government should put an end to it immediately,” Huckabee told the SBA List.
The SBA List also distributed this recent comment from Cain, a favorite of the tea party movement: “I absolutely would defund Planned Parenthood ... people who know the history of Margaret Sanger, who started Planned Parenthood, they know that the intention was not to help young women who get pregnant to plan their parenthood. No — it was a sham to be able to kill black babies.”
President Barack Obama’s ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, was contacted but not able to respond given his position with the administration through the end of April.
Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels was contacted by the SBA List as well, but he declined to respond. Daniels drew fire from social conservatives last month for suggesting a “truce” where Republicans focus on economic issues instead of social issues.
“I think probably, as a general rule, it is better practice [to] do the people’s business, try to concentrate on making ends meet, which Washington obviously has failed to do for a long time, and have other policy debates in other places if you can,” Daniels said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Correction: April 4, 2011
An earlier version of this article misstated Mike Huckabee’s home state. He was governor of Arkansas. The story also implied that Mitt Romney was the current governor of Massachusetts; he is the former governor.