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How Anti-Choice Are The Possible GOP Vice Presidential Picks?

By Amanda Peterson Beadle on July 27, 2012 at 3:57 pm

"How Anti-Choice Are The Possible GOP Vice Presidential Picks?"

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Sen. Kelly Ayotte (NH) and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (MN) have been mentioned as possible vice president picks for Mitt Romney.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has campaigned as an anti-choice candidate. He endorsed an amendment that would allow employers to deny contraception coverage and promised to support radical measures to define life as beginning at conception. He would likely carry these views with him into the White House, where the president “wields more power over reproductive rights than anyone else in the country,” said Donna Crane, NARAL Pro-Choice America’s policy director.

And when it comes to selecting his running mate, Romney will pick a vice presidential candidate who is just as anti-choice as he is. “The person that I would select in that position would share my views on those important issues,” Romney said at the 2011 Palmetto Freedom Forum.

So how anti-choice are the most likely picks to be Romney’s vice president? NARAL Pro-Choice America broke down where 13 potential nominees stood on reproductive rights, access to abortion services, and women’s health, and it is clear that each is just as anti-choice as Romney. Several have supported giving legal rights to a fetus at some point during a pregnancy, thus limiting a woman’s ability to access abortion services. For example, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), who is on the list, co-sponsored “personhood” legislation while serving in the South Carolina legislature.

Here are some of the anti-choice actions highlighted in NARAL’s report by the politicians frequently mentioned as top vice president picks:

TIM PAWLENTY: The former Minnesota governor signed a mandatory 24-hour delay for women seeking abortion care into law, and while serving in the state House, he wrote a bill to require women to be told medically inaccurate information about abortion services. But Pawlenty also approved a bill ensuring that women who have been sexually assaulted have access to emergency contraception — a measure similar to one Romney vetoed.

ROB PORTMAN: While serving in the House of Representatives and Senate, the current Ohio senator has voted on 115 bills related to abortion and reproductive rights — 114 of which were anti-choice. He repeatedly voted for the Federal Abortion Ban, which criminalizes some abortion services, and Portman co-sponsored a bill to effectively ban abortion coverage in state health insurance exchanges.

KELLY AYOTTE: The first-term New Hampshire senator has never cast a pro-choice vote. In 2003, Ayotte argued a case before the U.S. Supreme Court defending New Hampshire’s law requiring a girl who is a minor to notify a parent before she has an abortion.

MARCO RUBIO: The Florida senator has sponsored two bills that would gut the expansion of contraception coverage in the Affordable Care Act. He also voted to prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funding, which would have denied health care and preventive services to millions of women.

BOBBY JINDAL: While serving in the House of Representatives, Jindal voted eight times to limit abortion access and other reproductive rights issues. And just last month, the current Louisiana governor signed three anti-choice bills into law.

JOHN THUNE: The senator from South Dakota co-sponsored a bill to allow hospitals to deny emergency abortion care, even when a woman’s life is in danger. And while serving in Congress, Thune has voted repeatedly to deny military women the right to use their own, private money for abortion care in military hospitals.

While there used to be a larger number of pro-choice GOP politicians, now “the pool is very small” as the party has grown more conservative, said NARAL’s Crane. And that leaves Romney with a slate of possible vice presidents who are “all equally threatening to a woman’s right to choose,” explained NARAL deputy policy director Lissy Moskowitz.

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