Tim Pawlenty feels the pain of the unborn, but doesn’t want the born to know it

Tim Pawlenty’s Extreme Antichoice Record
George Zornick | May 24, 2011

In Tim Pawlenty’s recent autobiography Courage to Stand, the word “abortion” only appears once in nearly 300 pages sketching his life story and record as governor of Minnesota. Pawlenty blandly characterizes abortion as a “lightning-rod issue associated with social policy,” and goes on only to say “I’m pro-life.”

This is the sort of book politicians write to introduce themselves to a national audience—but here and in most other speeches and interviews, Pawlenty seems reluctant to talk about his views on abortion. The issues page of his campaign website contains only one reference to his abortion stance, a three-sentence statement [1] on the annual March for Life.

In reality, however, Pawlenty’s views on a woman’s right to choose are among the more extreme in the emerging GOP field. National Review dubbed [2] Pawlenty as possibly “the strongest pro-life candidate in 2012.” Under Pawlenty, who is an evangelical Christian, Minnesota was the first state to give women information on alleged “fetal pain” in an effort to dissuade them from having an abortion. He also signed laws providing women with information about “alternatives” to abortion, which became a model for other states, and has engaged in years of direct outreach to extreme antichoice groups.

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