Mother Jones magazine looks at Tim Pawlenty’s relationship with Planned Parenthood over the years, noting that as governor of Minnesota for eight years, he “threw up hurdles to women seeking abortions, and even declared April ‘Abortion Recovery Month.’
But the story says “a closer look at Pawlenty’s time as Minnesota governor reveals that his record on reproductive rights isn’t as perfectly right-wing as his supporters claim.”
In his early days in office, Pawlenty approved the Legislature’s plan to add $1.15 million to state family planning program, the story said:
Despite his evangelical bona fides and staunch opposition to abortion, Pawlenty approved the cash infusion for Planned Parenthoods and family-planning clinics statewide. One local newspaper called the bill a “dizzying increase” in funding and a big step toward “greatly expanding contraceptive care to Minnesota women.”
Adds the story:
But while the decision may have irked social conservatives, it made perfect sense to the fiscal conservative crowd: Health experts have estimated that every dollar spent on family planning saves nearly four dollars down the road on pregnancy-related spending. (A spokesman for Pawlenty did not return a request for comment.)
Other apparent mixed messages from Pawlenty on family planning leads the story to conclude:
Of course, the bulk of Pawlenty’s record on reproductive rights speaks for itself. As governor he signed legislation requiring a 24-hour waiting period for women wanting to get an abortion. And after approving an increase in family planning funding, he later proposed slashing $2 million from the Family Planning Special Projects program. In other words, Pawlenty pivoted like an NBA point guard on key reproductive rights issues throughout his tenure as governor.
The question is which direction will Pawlenty take as a presidential candidate. Will he be the fiscal conservative who takes his cues from what science and the data say? Or will he tell social conservative and evangelical Christians what they want to hear?