National and Indiana pro-life leaders think Mitch Daniels will ultimately sign the pro-life legislation currently on his desk, despite his call for a “truce” on social issues.
But if he doesn’t, Daniels can expect an extremely rocky road to the GOP nomination if he decides to run for president.
“I can’t imagine he would have national possibilities of running for president if he vetoes a piece of legislation like this,” says Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council.
The bill, which has passed both the Indiana House and Senate, would ban abortions after the first twenty weeks of pregnancy and deprive Planned Parenthood of $2 million in federal funding.
“I think vetoing this bill would be a disastrous mistake for him,” says Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life. “Planned Parenthood is the largest abortion provider in the country, and he has a unique opportunity to be part of a historic moment in our national conversation where we’re finally paying attention to the amount of funding that’s going to their business model.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, says that Daniels, “a fiscal conservative who sees the reality of Indiana’s budget problems,” grasps that “the American people should not continue to foot the bill for an organization that does not need the money.”
“We expect that Gov. Daniels understands that there is no truce on doing what is right and fiscally responsible,” Dannenfelser adds.
Daniels has been heavily pressured by abortion advocates to veto the legislation. “It’s time for Governor Daniels, who called for a truce on social issues, to stay true to his word,” said Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards in a statement.
“Despite his solidly anti-choice record, Daniels said that lawmakers should declare a truce on social issues and focus on the economy,” said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, in a statement. “Now, voters will see whether he will follow his own advice.”
Indiana pro-life leaders are confident that Daniels will sign the legislation.
“The way Planned Parenthood is proceeding is the exact wrong way to persuade this governor. They’re saying if you do this, we’ll sue you. You said you wanted a truce, you better stick to your word,” says Curt Smith, president of the Indiana Family Institute. “And that is just not the way to reason with an intelligent, gifted leader in public life.”
“I think he will distinguish between his comment about presidential campaigns and his stewardship of the executive office as governor of Indiana,” Smith adds.
Indiana Right to Life president Mike Fichter agrees. “Based on his previous support for pro-life legislation in Indiana, as well as his consistent statement of support for the pro-life position, we fully expect he will support the House Bill 1210,” Fichter says.
“He’s always been strong on this issue,” Smith says of Daniels. “And I think he will continue to be strong.”
UPDATE: Penny Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America, has also issued a statement urging Daniels to sign the bill: “Governor Mitch Daniels, a supposed self-proclaimed social and fiscal conservative, needs to stop dithering on defunding Planned Parenthood and sign the darn bill already.”