Pro-lifers had reason to doubt Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s pro-life credentials. During his re-election campaign this fall, the Republican incumbent was featured in a TV ad where he offered a weak defense of unborn rights. The pro-life group LiveAction described it as “mealy-mouthed equivocation.” Here’s an excerpt from the ad they’d like to forget:
Hi, I’m Scott Walker. I’m pro-life. But there’s no doubt in my mind the decision of whether or not to end a pregnancy is an agonizing one. That’s why I support legislation to increase safety and to provide more information for a woman considering her options. The bill leaves the final decision to a woman and her doctor. Now, reasonable people can disagree on this issue. Our priority is to protect the health and safety of all Wisconsin citizens.
Pro tip: Never should a politician follow up an “I’m pro-life” with a “But.”
To make matters worse, just this week Walker failed to provide a strong answer to Fox News Sunday’s Chris Wallace when the host asked about his pro-life stance. The governor avoided giving a straight answer and ultimately said it was up to the courts to decide what to do about abortion rights.
WALLACE: But ultimately it's her choice?
WALKER: Well, legally, that's what it is under the guidelines that was provided from the Supreme Court.
WALLACE: And would you change that law?
WALKER: Well, I -- that's not a change you can make. The Supreme Court ultimately has made that.
His lack of passion justifiably bristled pro-lifers yet again.
But, Walker may have soothed pro-lifers’ frustration with this one announcement:
As the Wisconsin legislature moves forward in the coming session, further protections for mother and child are likely to come to my desk in the form of a bill to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks. I will sign that bill when it gets to my desk and support similar legislation on the federal level.
Just like that, Walker seems to be back in pro-lifers’ good graces. In this open letter, Walker was referring to the controversial Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act that bans abortion after 20 weeks, the point at which unborn babies can feel pain. Congress failed to take up this legislation for a vote in January after a few Republicans such as Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) worried how voters would react to such a sweeping pro-life law. Hint: They would support it. Thankfully, the bill is now making its way through the states.
Marjorie Danenfelser, president of the pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony List, spoke for many pro-lifers when she responded to the Wisconsin governor’s welcome news:
His commitment to the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in Wisconsin and nationally is the best first step for a pro-life candidate and one that is embraced by the nation. This popular legislation has been endorsed by almost every Republican hopeful for 2016.
Pro-life advocates are looking for a leader in 2016. With this new bold proclamation, Walker is proving he has what it takes to stand up for the unborn.