Little pushback on Romney fundraiser

Published in POLITICO

The outrage from major anti-abortion groups after Mitt Romney held a fundraiser with the chairman of the maker of the emergency contraceptive Plan B was … well, rather quiet.

Even though abortion opponents widely believe emergency contraception causes abortion (the FDA says otherwise), leading groups are holding their tongues about the fundraiser hosted by Teva Pharmaceuticals Chairman Phil Frost on Wednesday night in Coral Gables.

The Susan B. Anthony List, which campaigned aggressively for Rick Santorum before he dropped out of the race and it endorsed the presumptive nominee, provided a statement Thursday that could actually be read as coming to Romney’s defense.

“Our endorsement of Gov. Romney is based upon his commitment to pro-life policies,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “We are confident that he will live up to those commitments.”

Americans United for Life and the National Right to Life Committee both declined to comment. The Family Research Council confined its comments to saying it hoped Romney “used this opportunity to ask Mr. Frost about studies on adolescent repeat use of Plan B” because there is little research on the subject — hardly a ringing condemnation.

Of the major anti-abortion organizations contacted, only Concerned Women for America swung at Romney directly.

“I am very disappointed, and it makes one wonder if this is the beginning of the Etch-a-Sketch,” said the group’s president, Penny Nance.

The Romney campaign did not respond to requests for comment.

The relative quiet from the anti-abortion movement — which is known for keeping sustained pressure even on its allies — shows the power of being the presumptive nominee. Romney has pledged to end several Obama administration policies these groups abhor, and they think he’s better than the alternative even though many privately concede they still don’t trust him.

Gualberto Garcia Jones of the more militant upstart organization Personhood USA said this kind of thinking is harmful to the cause.

“I think it’s a weakness of the pro-life movement that they’re in bed with Republicans,” Jones said. “I think a lot of groups that endorsed Romney the minute he became the nominee are really doing a disservice to the pro-life movement, just prostrating themselves for a seat at the table.”

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