Former Massachusetts Gov. and current GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney is refusing to sign a pledge penned by the pro-life group 'The Susan B. Anthony List.' The pledge calls for the nomination of judges "who are committed to restraint and applying the original meaning of the Constitution, not legislating from the bench."
It also demands the selection of pro-life appointees for cabinet positions and the advancement of "pro-life legislation to permanently end all taxpayer funding of abortion," as well as the defunding of Planned Parenthood.
"Mitt Romney pledged in the last campaign that he would be a pro-life president and of course he pledges it today," said Romney Campaign communications director Gail Gitcho. "However, this well-intentioned effort has some potentially unforeseen consequences and he does not feel he could in good conscience sign it."
Team Romney maintains the pledge calls for legislation that would "strip taxpayer funding from thousands of health care facilities, including VA hospitals around the country, and strictly limits the choices a president would have to appoint federal officials."
To that end Romney supporters point out a list of former Republican cabinet members who may have been disqualified by the pledge.
Among them: Former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, as well, as the first Homeland Security Secretary, Tom Ridge.
Many of Romney's rival Republican presidential candidates have signed the pledge, including Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.
"We applaud those candidates who did sign the pledge for vowing to support and advance the protection of life at all stages if elected to the White House," said SBA List Project Director Marilyn Musgrave. "Their signatures demonstrate that mere lip service to protecting women and the unborn is not enough- it must be backed up by concrete action."
"Mitt Romney will appoint judges who will faithfully interpret the constitution and not legislate from the bench," counters Gitcho. "[Romney] has been a strong supporter of the [Susan B. Anthony] List in the past and he looks forward to continue working with them to promote a culture of life."
The two other Republican presidential candidates who have not yet signed the pledge are former federal banker Herman Cain and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson.