Three new candidates join Presidential race. Where do they stand on abortion and the right to life?

With the announced candidacies of Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) on May 27, Governor George Pataki (R-NY) on May 28, and Governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD) on May 30, the field of presidential candidates is certainly growing! All three men are Catholic, but hold different views on abortion.

Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)


Senator Rick Santorum is now known for his strong pro-life convictions, though he wasn’t always pro-life. During his time in the U.S. Senate, he introduced the Partial Birth Abortion Act of 2003.  

Santorum ran for president in 2012, and before bowing out of the race, leaving Romney as the GOP nominee, he enjoyed support from pro-life groups. Santorum also marched at the annual March for Life in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Rick Santorum at the 2013 March for Life posing with Fordham University students.

Rick Santorum at the 2013 March for Life posing with Fordham University students.

The Santorum family is also well-known for its youngest member, Bella, who has trisomy 18, a diagnosis which almost always results in the child being aborted when diagnosed in the womb. Bella is a true miracle because she not only survived her first 10 days (when half of such children die), but also her first birthday and several after that. She is now seven.

Rick and Karen Santorum wrote a book about their powerful journey with their daughter, which was released in February.

During his announcement in Cabot,  PA, on Wednesday, Santorum also specifically mentioned the right to life.

Finally, we must take back America, for those who seek to deny us our God given rights of life and liberty. As president, I will stand for the principle that every life matters–the poor, the disabled, and the unborn.

Governor George Pataki (R-NY)

Governor George Pataki

Governor George Pataki

Governor Pataki announced his candidacy for president in New Hampshire on May 28. The day before, however, the governor laid out what issues matter to him. The right to life was actually listed as a “distraction,” as mentioned by The Washington Times:

“Defeating Islamic terror, shrinking government and growing the economy. These are the issues that matter most. Instead, we’re debating social issues like abortion and gay rights. They’re a distraction and will only help elect Hillary. After eight years of Obama-style socialism, we need to shrink government – not let big government tells us how to live our lives,” Mr. Pataki says in a new campaign video.

Pro-life voters may not like to have their top issue referred to as a “distraction.” When faced with a candidate who fails to give abortion the attention it deserves, pro-lifers may stay home. In fact, Mitt Romney’s failure to address the issue and properly highlight President Obama’s extreme record may have contributed to his loss. Further, a poll from March showed that 51 percent of Republicans would not vote for someone who held a different view on abortion.

As governor, Pataki didn’t exactly have a record pleasing to pro-lifers. He vetoed a bill that would have authorized new specialty license plates for the state, and blamed it on a Choose Life plate. He also supported a bill forcing taxpayers to spend $100 million annually on embryonic stem cell research, and signed legislation requiring hospitals and insurance plans to provide the morning after pill.

Pataki had been considering a presidential run for 2008, but actually lost out on donors due to his stance.

Governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD)

Governor Martin O'Malley

Governor Martin O’Malley

Governor O’Malley announced his candidacy for president on Saturday in Baltimore, Maryland, where he once served as mayor.

O’Malley clarified his stance in favor of abortion to Planned Parenthood in 2002. In 2014, he was honored by Planned Parenthood of Maryland with the Betty Tyler award, at their ninth Annual Spring Gala.

O’Malley, who just finished his second term as governor, was in office when Jennifer Morbelli and her preborn daughter, Madison Leigh, died in a botched late-term abortion from LeRoy Carhart. Some pro-lifers have blamed the governor for granting Carhart a liecense to perform abortions in Maryland, despite his horrific record.

For the most recent Americans United for Life List, Maryland came in the Top 10 list of worst states, and has consistently done so during O’Malley’s time in office.

O’Malley is pro-abortion, as well as openly Catholic, as discussed by some news outlets. His faith even propelled his run and he has been referred to as “A Pope Francis Democrat.”

The thing is though, the Catholic Church is, as Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., recently reminded the faithful, fundamentally pro-life, as is Pope Francis.

The field of presidential candidates in both parties is surely growing. With these new additions, the count of GOP presidential candidates is now nine —with the addition of presidential hopeful Lindsey Graham. For the stance of life on the previously declared candidates, look to this previous piece, and continue to check back as more candidates continue to announce!

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