The Susan B. Anthony List

 . . . has created a pro-life pledge.

Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum have signed the pledge. Herman Cain and Mitt Romney have not signed it. 

Emily Buchanan, executive director there, tells me: “Our goal is for all candidates to sign the pledge. We are urging our grassroots to reach out to candidates who haven’t signed, asking them to do so. We do plan to promote pledge signers to primary voters and to our membership.” 

One former George H. W. Bush Justice Department official, unaffiliated with any GOP presidential-primary contender, raises the worry that the pledge as it currently reads could easily prove to be too far-reaching in its implications. Taken at its face, he worries, Medicare and Medicaid patients would not be able to use any hospitals that perform any type of abortion. 

Harvard Law professor and former ambassador to the Vatican, Mary Ann Glendon — who was in the 2008 campaign (until she resigned to become ambassador) and will again be co-chairing Lawyers for Romney in this election cycle — tells me that she believes it would have been “irresponsible” for the governor to have signed the “far too broad” pledge. 

Echoing the former Justice Department official’s concern, Glendon says: “You can’t defund all the hospitals in the country.” She adds: “I have no doubt about Mitt’s genuine commitment to life.”

“It does not trouble me at all that he has not signed this pledge. The pledge is asking him to do things he can’t responsibly do,” Glendon tells me.

I am an enthusiastic fan of the SBA List. But I might have taken a little more time to celebrate the seeming pro-life depth of the current field as displayed during Monday night’s debate. I also think that the candidates who have not signed it are fine — maybe even prudent — not to have done so.

Kathryn Jean Lopez — Kathryn Jean Lopez is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and an editor-at-large of National Review. Sign up for her weekly NRI newsletter here. This column is based on one available through Andrews McMeel Universal’s Newspaper Enterprise Association.

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