The Washington Times - April 12, 2012, 10:12AM

The Susan B. Anthony List, a leading national pro-life group, endorsed Republican Mitt Romney for president on Thursday, a sign that the former Massachusetts governor will be able to convince other anti-abortion groups to rally behind his candidacy.

“Now is the time to unite behind Governor Romney in order to defeat the most ideologically pro-abortion president in our nation’s history,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA List. She added her group plans to spend between $10 million to $12 million in Senate and presidential battleground states “mobilizing pro-life voters to ensure victory.”

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The group had endorsed Rick Santorum’s president bid in February, but the former Pennsylvania senator dropped out of the race this week, prompting the group to swing its support behind Mr. Romney, who says he has moved from pro-choice to pro-life over the course of his political career.

In making the announcement, SBA leaders said that President Obama has proven to be an extremist on the abortion issue during his first term in office and highlighted how Mr. Romney has vowed to defund Planned Parenthood, appoint only constitutionalist judges to the federal bench and bar non-government organizations that perform or promote abortions from receiving federal funding.

“The difference between Governor Romney and President Obama couldn’t be clearer,” said Jane Abraham, chairman of the group’s board of directors.

Mr. Romney, though, has not seen eye-to-eye with the group throughout the campaign. He refused to sign the SBA pro-life pledge, which was supported by nearly all of the other GOP presidential candidates, including former Mr. Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul. The latter two remain in the presidential race, but trail far behind Mr. Romney.

The group’s “pro-life presidential leadership pledge” required candidates to promise to appoint justices who will “not legislate from the bench” and to tap pro-lifers to Cabinet positions. It also called on them to end taxpayer funding for abortions here and overseas, and to sign legislation that supporters say would protect the life of an unborn child as soon as it is capable of feeling pain, except in cases where the mother’s life is in danger.

The Romney camp cited restrictive language in the pledge on hospital funding and the selection of Cabinet members in declining to sign the pledge earlier this year.