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Social Conservatives "Applaud," "Enthusiastically Support" GOP Pledge

11:47 AM, Sep 23, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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A statement from Marjorie Dannenfelser of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List:

“Today, in its ‘Pledge to America’ the pro-life Republican House leadership has echoed the voices of pro-life Americans calling for a Congress that will protect Life.  The pro-life legislative priorities included in their Pledge reinforce Republican Party unity as we approach these critical mid-term elections.  We applaud House GOP leaders for making a priority of codifying the Hyde Amendment and passing consensus legislation like the government-wide ban on taxpayer funding of abortion established by the Smith-Lipinski “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.” Similarly, we encourage the leadership to make defunding Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers currently receiving taxpayer dollars an immediate priority.  The Susan B. Anthony List looks forward to mobilizing our grassroots network of over 280,000 pro-life Americans in support of the strongly pro-life GOP leadership and new members in order to pass this and other commonsense pro-life legislation right away in the next Congress.”

Kathryn Lopez reports:

A source in the room [at the GOP conference meeting] tells me that longtime pro-life champion Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey stood up and recalled how, back in 1994, they fought and fought — unsuccessfully — to have life included in the Contract with America. Smith said this is the most pro-life leadership House Republicans have ever had, and thanked the leaders.

From the National Right to Life Committee:

"We welcome the Republican leadership's commitment to repeal and replace the Obama health care law, which is a top priority for the pro-life movement because that law, when fully implemented, would result in the rationing of lifesaving medical treatments, and an array of federal subsidies for abortion as well," said NRLC Legislative Director Douglas Johnson.  "In addition, a permanent government-wide prohibition on federal funding of abortion is long overdue, and we applaud the inclusion of that legislation in this action plan."

Jon Ward reports:

[Princeton professor and leader of the socially conservative American Principles Project] Robert P. George said late Wednesday after reading the document that the group would “fully and enthusiastically support the Pledge.”

“What we demanded of the GOP was a firm and clear commitment to marriage, life, and the free and full participation of faith-based institutions in our public life. We got it. Our goal was not to shift the focus of the ‘Pledge’ to social issues, but to make sure that the GOP’s longstanding pro-life and pro-marriage commitments were not abandoned, compromised, or passed over in silence,” George said.

The headline of Ward's piece focuses on Tony Perkins's "disappointment" with the document because the "pledge to honor the values issues such as traditional marriage were not more clearly defined within the document," but Perkins finds it to be "a significant improvement over the 94 Contact with America which was silent on the moral issues."

Given how the courts have tied the hands of Congress on the issue of abortion, banning funding is pretty much all Congress can do on that issue. And given the fact that the Defense of Marriage Act--which affirms states' rights to not recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions--is still in effect, there isn't much in terms of legislation that same-sex marriage opponents would want.

There are, of course, other "social" conservative issues--like embryo-destructive research and "Dont' Ask, Don't Tell"--but the party is divided on those issues, which explains why the House GOP didn't put them in the pledge.

As for those objecting to the document on the grounds that it doesn't go far enough on fiscal issues: Paul Ryan makes the case that the pledge will put the GOP on the path to a balanced budget.

Yes, Republicans should ban earmarks, and, yes, they should propose a bolder budget when they're in power. But just because those items aren't in a the pledge it doesn't mean the GOP won't act on them.

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