GOP candidates to join pro-life forum in South Carolina

At least four of the five GOP candidates will be present at a pro-life forum in South Carolina Wednesday, reports:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, Congressman Ron Paul, and Texas Governor Rick Perry are scheduled to participate in the Presidential Prolife Forum at the Hilton Hotel in Greenville, South Carolina on Wednesday. Former Governor Mitt Romney has not responded to invitations to attend the event. …

“In the past, abortion has been relegated as a side-issue, but no longer,” Keith Mason, the head of the group, said in a statement to LifeNews.

“Voters are dissatisfied with liberal Republican candidates who are prolife in word, but not in deed. We have already seen a tremendous outspokenness on the Sanctity of Life from these four candidates,” he added. “Now voters are eager to ask serious questions about each candidate’s prolife position. Over 50 million innocent children have been killed by abortion since 1973, and we want a President who will not sit by and watch the death toll climb.”

While the eventual GOP nominee’s record on the abortion issue will likely make little difference in the general election, which promises to be a contest of alternate visions for economic growth and job development, it is nevertheless true that several of the GOP candidates have elevated the issue of abortion in the primaries. Ron Paul has made an unusual point to tout his pro-life credentials, for example, and Newt Gingrich’s Super PAC has attacked Mitt Romney’s record on the topic. Rick Santorum can’t go anywhere without receiving questions on social issues like abortion and gay marriage, and Rick Perry, too, has hyped his social conservative credentials. It also remains true that many single-issue voters still vote on the basis of a candidate’s position on this issue.

Given the confusion about Mitt Romney’s record on life issues, it might be smart of him to actually put in an appearance at the event, but, with the primary so close, it’s plausible he hasn’t yet confirmed because he has a genuine conflict.