Last night an issue that infuriates most pro-lifers – that of Republican leadership promoting pro-abortion candidates – arose by means of the most vile example possible: partial birth abortion.

During Fox’s Republican presidential debate, Michele Bachmann accused Newt Gingrich of campaigning for pro-pba candidates, and just as bad, of using his power as Speaker of the House to squelch an effort to deny campaign funds to candidates who supported partial birth abortion. She also accused him of refusing to defund Planned Parenthood when he had the chance…


Gingrich did not respond to Bachmann’s Planned Parenthood accusation and only responded to the partial-birth abortion accusation by saying, “I wouldn’t go out and try to purge Republicans.”  This is an inaccurate portrayal of Bachmann’s assertion, which was that Gingrich actively supported candidates who were so extreme as to support killing a half-delivered baby.

According to PolitiFact, Bachmann was correct in this claim. Also, the Bachmann website has more corroboration, with a zinger quote by George Will from that time: “Why is it a virtue to be tolerant of infanticide?”

This was 1998. The outcome of that election? According to Wikipedia:

Republicans lost five seats in the House in the 1998 elections – the worst midterm performance in 64 years for a party that didn’t hold the presidency. Polls showed that Gingrich and the Republican Party’s attempt to remove President Clinton from office was deeply unpopular among voters. Gingrich suffered much of the blame for the election loss. Facing a rebellion in the Republican caucus, he announced on November 5, 1998 that he would not only stand down as Speaker, but would leave the House as well. Gingrich made this announcement only a day after being elected to an 11th term from his district.

As a related aside, Rick Santorum lost his U.S. Senate seat in 2006 – to a Democrat – in large part because he supported the re-election of pro-abortion Arlen Specter.

Hopefully, pro-lifers are making it tougher and tougher for the Republican political establishment to support pro-aborts.

Thanks to Michele Bachmann for making this an issue last night, and also of keeping Planned Parenthood in the negative spotlight.

Incidentally, it doesn’t appear to me as if Gingrich has changed his view on supporting pro-abortion candidates, if his comments last night are any indication.

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