Among the Presidential candidates performing with the GOP traveling circus: two of Minnesota’s own, Bachmann and Pawlenty. While the former has always been more than a little out of the mainstream, Pawlenty seems to be gaining momentum by affixing his name to the ever-popular political pledges that seem to be floating around so much you’d think it was a recruitment for the Boy Scouts. (Do they get badges to sew to their blazers, too?)
Amidst the onslaught of pledges is one that is particularly troubling to advocates of choice and responsible family planning. An anti-choice pledge to make abortion illegal and defund Planned Parenthood (among its talking points) is making its way through the ranks. Pawlenty is among those who have signed on the dotted line, vowing to remain close-minded and short-sighted and to only appoint other close-minded short-seers should he become President.
Pawlenty has gone so far in backing his dedication to the pledge as to say that doctors who perform abortions should be in prison.
This isn’t the first time Pawlenty has lent his signature to anti-choice measures. Although seemingly more mild (read: sane) than some of the other anti-choice right-wingers, Pawlenty’s agenda against women’s health rights is among the most radical. In 2003, he signed into law the Women’s Right to Know Act, which required physicians to provide women with information about abortion alternatives at least 24 hours before the procedure. The bill required that women be given information about potential risks associated with abortion, including a relationship between abortion and breast cancer, which doesn’t exist.
Two years later, Pawlenty signed the Unborn Child Prevention Act, which required those seeking abortion to learn about “fetal pain,” despite the fact that there is no scientific evidence to support it. The law requires abortion doctors to inform pregnant women seeking an abortion that “pain reducing drugs” are available for their fetus.
So while Pawlenty may seem less controversial than other GOP candidates, his policies and track record of attacks on women’s health rights are anything but. Pawlenty is dangerous to women and should be watched more closely, even if he isn’t making as big of a scene…yet.
-by Kelly, Web Correspondent, Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota South Dakota Action Fund