Position vs. Conviction
By Steve Deace
As voters continue to look for useful ways to help them vet the Republican presidential candidates, a campaign pledge unlike any other was unveiled on Wednesday to help voters learn who truly believes that all life is sacred and a gift from God.
For years GOP presidential candidates have gotten away with giving lip service to the belief that the unalienable right to life applies to all from the moment of conception, and have scraped by on promising to sign a myriad of well-intentioned but ineffective legislation that ends with the words “and then you can kill the baby.”
Thanks to the Personhood USA Pledge released in advance of 2008 Iowa Caucus winner Mike Huckabee’s pro-life event in Des Moines Wednesday night, those days of letting politicians off the hook with talking points and clichés have come to an end. Huckabee is himself a supporter of the Personhood USA Pledge.
“Believing that every human life, unborn and born, has intrinsic worth and equal value is the underpinning of our nation’s moral core,” Huckabee said. “As one who lived through the Jim Crow laws of the South and saw how people of color were treated as ‘less’ I am encouraged that the Personhood movement is reminding us that all people are deserving of the protections afforded us as human beings. We should never ask people to determine if one person is ‘more’ valuable than another because of wealth, appearance, IQ, ancestry, ethnic origin, or physical capacity. Attempts to dismiss the concept of Personhood will eventually be met with common sense and common decency. Until then, we must continue to speak out boldly for the rights of all to enjoy ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’”
Now we find out who has a position on the sanctity of all human life, and who has a conviction. This pledge compels a candidate to “speak out boldly for the rights of all” as Huckabee said. So far three candidates have risen to the occasion.
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich have signed their names to the Personhood USA Pledge which states:
I stand with President Ronald Reagan in supporting “the unalienable personhood of every American, from the moment of conception until natural death,” and with the Republican Party platform in affirming that I “support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and endorse legislation to make clear that the 14th Amendment protections apply to unborn children.”
I believe that in order to properly protect the right to life of the vulnerable among us, every human being at every stage of development must be recognized as a person possessing the right to life in federal and state laws without exception and without compromise. I recognize that in cases where a mother’s life is at risk, every effort should be made to save the baby’s life as well; leaving the death of an innocent child as an unintended tragedy rather than an intentional killing.
I oppose assisted suicide, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, and procedures that intentionally destroy developing human beings.
I pledge to the American people that I will defend all innocent human life. Abortion and the intentional killing of an innocent human being are always wrong and should be prohibited.
If elected President, I will work to advance state and federal laws and amendments that recognize the unalienable right to life of all human beings as persons at every stage of development, and to the best of my knowledge, I will only appoint federal judges and relevant officials who will uphold and enforce state and federal laws recognizing that all human being at every stage of development are person with the unalienable right to life.
Candidates are still welcome to sign on to the pledge at any time between now and the January 3rd Iowa Caucuses. As I am quoted as saying in the press release announcing the pledge:
“This pledge is the most basic articulation of the unalienable right to life. Pro-life voters should consider who has a position on the sanctity of life and who has a conviction on the sanctity of life by the way the candidates respond to this pledge. As a pro-life voter, I know that I won’t vote for anyone on January 3rd that hasn’t signed this pledge.”
With that in mind, this pledge is useful because the principle and methodology behind Personhood is the only way I believe we will finally end the scourge of child killing in America. Relying on the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade has frankly been a fool’s errand for 38 long, blood-stained years. A presidential candidate that does not understand that the first and most important role of any form of government is to protect our God-given rights simply cannot be trusted to defend the unalienable right to life—and thus cannot honor their oath of office.
As the Declaration of Independence puts it:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
On a personal note, I was most disappointed that Texas Congressman Ron Paul refused to initially sign the pledge when offered the opportunity to do so. I will disclose that for the past couple of days I practically made it my personal mission to persuade his campaign to obtain his signature on the pledge.
Considering how eloquently he has spoke up on the sanctity of life in the past, and how much of a champion of the Founding Fathers’ vision for this country he has been throughout his career, it is simply inexplicable that Congressman Paul has yet to sign this pledge, which is lifted right from the writings of the Founders themselves
I have previously said that Paul made my list of candidates I was willing to vote for, but that was before this pledge became a part of the vetting process. As I stated in the press release announcing the pledge, I will not vote for a candidate that doesn’t sign this pledge because it contains the basic articulation of the most sacred of all rights—the unalienable right to life.
What is even more disheartening about this pledge lacking Congressman Paul’s signature is that three of the people I respect the most in Iowa politics – State Reps. Kim Pearson, Jason Schultz, and Glen Massie – each voted for Personhood in the Iowa Legislature this past session, and each of them has endorsed Paul for president. In addition, Pearson and Massie went so far as to criticize legislation which only seeks to regulate abortion such as what is featured in the Susan B. Anthony pledge—which Congressman Paul has signed.
It appears as if my friends Pearson and Massie may need to educate their own presidential candidate and urge him to provide his much-needed signature on the pledge, or perhaps they endorsed the wrong candidate.