Personhood USA's Presidential Forum Asks Hard Questions of Republican Presidential Candidates

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Candidates attended a national pro-life tele-town hall and radio simulcast Tuesday night to answer questions about their right to life positions.

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I think it’s important to have the candidate’s positions on life known. Now it is critical that the people of Iowa show up to vote.

Four Republican candidates participated in a pro-life forum Tuesday night, answering tough questions about pro-life issues. The National Presidential Pro-life Forum was the first of its kind, focusing solely on the sanctity of life. The event was sponsored by several prominent pro-life organizations including Personhood USA, a grassroots, Christian organization providing assistance for state groups working to recognize the rights of every human being at every age. Champion the Vote, an organization committed to actively advancing traditional values, co-sponsored the event which had over 26,000 participants in the simulcast tele-town hall.

The forum was hosted by Steve Deace, a nationally syndicated radio host, and broadcast on his Salem Network program and 88 of Bott Radio Network’s radio stations across the country.

When asked about his signature on the Personhood USA Presidential Pledge in which candidates are required to recognize the right to life of all persons “without exception and without compromise," Texas Governor Rick Perry cited a recent conversation with international pro-life speaker and Personhood USA spokeswoman Rebecca Kiessling. “We had a fairly lengthy and heartfelt conversation about how she was conceived in rape. Looking in her eyes, I couldn’t come up with an answer to defend the exceptions for rape and incest,” said Perry. “Over the course of the last few weeks, the Christmas holiday, and reflecting on that--I would suggest that my pro-life position has been rather strong as the Governor of Texas--but she made a statement to me that was really profound and pierced my heart. As I signed that document, I will suggest to you that all I can tell you is God was working on my heart.”

Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann used the opportunity to reiterate her intention to actively pursue the repeal of Obamacare and a federal personhood bill protecting every human being from the moment of conception until natural death. “What we need to do to upend Roe vs. Wade and end the horrible holocaust of life in the United States is pass the personhood amendment… We don’t have to wait just for the Supreme Court, we can be involved in this ourselves,” said Bachmann. "The one thing we can’t get wrong in this election is the life issue… Of all of the candidates in this race, I am the only one who will repeal Obamacare."

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum was asked what a personhood bill pursuant to the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution would entail. "The act would be a very simple one that would recognize life from conception to natural death as what it is, a human life. We do not differentiate stages of development, or mental capacity, or capacity at the end of life, as being any less of a person,” replied Santorum. “Personhood is defined as an entity that is genetically human and alive--it is a person as contemplated under our Constitution. The legislation would be one that is simple, and brief, and to the point." Following the line of questioning, Santorum was asked what his response would be if the Supreme Court were to strike down the law. “You do what you always do in every case when the Court strikes it down, you fight,” he continued.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was asked similarly about personhood legislation. “It’s based on the fact that in the Constitution, in the 14th Amendment, it says very specifically: Congress shall define ‘What is a ‘person?’” he said. “I think one way to solve this would be to write the bill so that it is not appealable.” When asked what steps he would take to ensure that taxpayer dollars were not used to pay for abortion. "On the very first day I will sign an Executive Order reinstating Ronald Reagan’s Mexican City Policy,” Gingrich concluded. “I will also move to defund Planned Parenthood and transfer the money from Planned Parenthood to adoption services. I would also overhaul the U.S. Foreign service to get rid of the people who are aggressively pro-abortion."

“We’re so grateful that the candidates who are joining us on this call have signed the personhood pledge, participated in the forum, and made commitments on behalf of the preborn child,” added Keith Mason, President of Personhood USA. “I think it’s important to have the candidate’s positions on life known. Now it is critical that the people of Iowa show up to vote."

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