JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – As Gov. Eric Greitens took to the stage to hug Missouri Right to Life President Steve Rupp in the Capitol Rotunda, it marked a stark contrast from a six months ago when the influential anti-abortion group would not endorse the man who would become the state’s chief executive.
But a year later, it appears the bridge between the two parties has mended.
At the Missouri Right to Life’s legislative day March 14, Greitens joined alongside other Republican state leaders like Attorney General Josh Hawley, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, Speaker Todd Richardson and President Pro Tem Ron Richard to “celebrate life” and thank the hundreds of people who showed up for supporting anti-abortion legislation.
“We have to do everything in our power to stand up for, protect and defend the lives of the innocent unborn,” Greitens said.
The governor added that his budget included more funding for alternatives-to-abortion facilities than at any time in the state’s history and he pledged to defeat a St. Louis ordinance which added reproductive health decisions to the city’s anti-discrimination law.
“We’ve got some politicians and crazy liberals and their allies in organizations like NARAL that are trying to create an abortion sanctuary city right here in the state of Missouri,” Greitens said to boos. “Folks, I’m telling you that I am here to defend life and defend people of faith who want to defend life and while I’m governor, there’s not going to be an abortion sanctuary city here in the state of Missouri.”
The only difference between Greitens and those four was that Missouri Right to Life did not endorse Greitens’ candidacy during his run for governor. During the Republican gubernatorial primary, Missouri Right to Life endorsed every candidate besides Greitens. In fact, Greitens only submitted a survey to Missouri Right to Life on his views pertaining to reproductive freedom and the right to life in October, barely a month before the general election. All that appeared to have passed as he received a rave reception and a standing ovation from the crowd.
Susan Klein, Missouri Right to Life’s legislative liaison, added the organization had met with the governor before the election and rated him pro-life.
“People are excited to have people who will work to protect innocent human lives from the governor’s office down to the secretary of state, the attorney general, and our Speaker and President Pro Tem and people are willing to turnout and stand out and support the work they’re doing here,” she said.
Greitens however caused some consternation among the pro-life community with one of his major donors during the election. New York-based philanthropist Julian Robertson gave him $125,000, and while Robertson donates large sums of money to various causes, one of his primary causes was for embryonic stem cell research. Robertson even chairs the New York Stem Cell Foundation.
However, Klein now says she’s confident with Greitens at the helm.
“We look forward to working with him and he did make commitments to protect the innocent human lives here in Missouri,” she said.
Featured Photo: Gov. Eric Greitens speaks at the Missouri Right to Life legislative day March 14, 2017 as MRL President Steve Rupp applauds in the background.