Which GOP Candidate is the Worst on Reproductive Rights?


Which of the Republican presidential candidates vetoed legislation that would require doctors to provide emergency contraception to rape victims?

It was then Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (The state legislature went on to pass it over his veto.)

Which 2012 GOP contender signed a similar measure into law? It was actually two of them—Tim Pawlenty in Minnesota in 2007 and Jon Hunstman in Utah in 2009.

These are among the facts in an assessment of the Republican presidential wannabes released by NARAL, the national pro-choice advocacy group. The organization examined the records of 12 candidates—some announced and some still teasing—and though a few have occasionally made moves slightly supportive of women’s reproductive rights, all of the candidates received a failing grade. This was no shocker.

“They’re all unacceptable for pro-choice voters,” said Ted Miller, NARAL’s communications director. He declined to rank them.

Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum have consistently voted against abortion and family planning measures in national office. Romney and others have waffled. Then there’s Rudy Giuliani (still potentially considering another run), who has declared himself pro-choice but also stated that “it would be OK to repeal” Roe v. Wade.

Abortion and other reproductive rights issues didn’t factor very prominently in the 2008 or 2010 elections, when the talk was mostly about jobs and the economy. But given the once-again raging battles across the country over abortion rights and the recent scuffle in Congress over family planning, NARAL expects that abortion as a campaign issue will be back, big time, in 2012. “I can’t imagine that women are going to forget that in the next year before elections,” said Elizabeth Shipp, political director at NARA. “And certainly I think it’s our job to make sure they don’t.”

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.