Scott Walker enters the GOP race. Here’s where he stands on life and family
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 13, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – It is no surprise that he is running for president, but his formal campaign announcement startled Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. His campaign accidentally sent out a message on Twitter Friday afternoon – two days before his scheduled entrance into the 2016 race, saying, “Scott is in. Are you?”
Walker, who will formally announce his candidacy this evening in Wisconsin, enjoys a close relationship with the state's pro-life and pro-family movement – yet questions remain about the fervor of his convictions.
Gov. Walker became a national figure after taking on public sector unions in 2011, depriving them of collective bargaining rights and making benefits packages for state workers less generous. In the midst of his first term, he survived a statewide recall election, then won re-election last fall.
On the campaign trail, Walker takes evident pride in winning three elections in four years.
As governor of the heavily Democratic state, he has enacted popular pro-life legislation, with more to come.
As the state legislature took up a bill banning abortion for children who are capable of feeling pain, ending the practice at 20 weeks, Walker pledged his support, saying he would sign the bill whether or not it contained a rape or incest exception. The bill currently on his desk has neither exception; he is expected to sign it at any time.
Publicly, he justified his position by stressing the late term of the abortion ban. He said mothers are most interested in aborting a rapists' child “in the initial months. In this case, it’s an unborn life, it’s an unborn child. That’s why we feel strongly about it.”
In 2011, he cost Planned Parenthood $130,000 in taxpayer funds by reprioritizing state funding for cancer screenings.
In 2013, Walker signed a law requiring abortionists to offer mothers the opportunity to see an ultrasound of their unborn children before an abortion. The state's pro-life forces dubbed it "Sonya's Law" in honor of an abortion-minded woman who changed her mind after seeing an image of her child.
The same law required abortionists to have admitting privileges at local hospitals – the same provision that has decimated the number of abortionists in Texas – but the state is currently asking a federal appeals court to overturn a decision striking the law down.
That law led to a media feeding frenzy in May, as a left-wing website claimed that Walker had said forcing women to have trans-vaginal ultrasounds was "a cool thing." The full text of his quotation revealed that he referred to the 19- and 20-year-old ultrasounds of his own children as cool.
Walker has also defended marriage, voting for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman as a state legislator. Julaine Appling of Wisconsin Family Action said as governor he "aggressively defended our marriage amendment in court."
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His family splits on the issue – with his wife, Tonette, and his sons, Alex and Matt, supporting a redefinition of marriage. Alex acted as a witness when his mother's cousin “married” another woman. Shelli Marquardt and Cathy Priem “wed” inside the Waukesha County Courthouse last June 9.
Scott Walker said he did not attend a gay “marriage” ceremony but he attended the reception “for someone I love.”
The governor's rhetoric and personnel decisions have also given some social conservatives moments of hesitation.
Walker hired pro-abortion spokeswoman Alleigh Marre for his re-election campaign.
Last fall, he caused consternation among some by releasing a campaign ad that referred to abortion as a decision "to end a pregnancy" and emphasized that his reform "leaves the final decision to a woman and her doctor."
When asked if he wanted to end all abortion, he said, “That’s not even an option in the state. The Supreme Court more than 40 years ago ruled that is not an option.”
Asked about same-sex "marriage" after a district court overturned his state's marriage protection amendment in 2014, he replied, “It really doesn’t matter what I think now. It's in the Constitution...I don’t comment on everything out there.”
That is in line with his comments on Meet the Press in March 2013. When then-host David Gregory asked about same-sex “marriage,” Walker replied, “When I talk about things, I talk about the economic and fiscal crises in our state and in our country. That’s what people want to resonate about. They don’t want to get focused on those [social] issues.”
After the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex “marriage” nationwide, he backed a Constitutional amendment allowing states to set marriage law for themselves. However, he has not emphasized the issue.
Many in the GOP are attracted to Walker as a candidate who can unite the party's disparate factions of economic and moral conservatives with the Republican Establishment. His reputation as a fighter has helped propel him to first place in Iowa. Wisconsin, a reliably Democratic state, would prove invaluable to Republicans hoping to win 270 votes in the Electoral College. But just which faction Walker supports, and to what extent, remains to be seen.
"You can never tell what a guy will be like once he becomes president, but the best indicator you can possibly have is a person's track record,” wrote conservative commentator Dan Calabrese. "Walker's track record is that he delivers."