WASHINGTON (EWTN News)—As the race for the Republican presidential nomination continues, several candidates confirmed their opposition to abortion and criticized the current administration for failing to defend the unborn. 

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum addressed a crowd of more than 1,000 people at the Dec. 14 premiere of The Gift of Life documentary.

The group affirmed their pro-life views at the Des Moines forum hosted by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee just weeks before the Iowa Caucus kicks off the presidential nomination process.

During her remarks, Bachmann criticized the Food and Drug Administration’s recent proposal to provide the Plan B “morning-after pill” to preteen girls without a prescription or parental consent, a suggestion that was rejected by the Department of Health and Human Services.

She called the drug an abortifacient and denounced the attempt to place it in grocery stores “where little girls could find it next to bubble gum and next to M&Ms.”

In his speech, Gingrich vowed that as president he would defund Planned Parenthood and restore conscience protections to prevent medical employees from being forced to perform abortions if they morally object to doing so.

He also said that he would issue an executive order reinstating the Mexico City Policy that prohibits American taxpayer money from being used to fund abortions overseas.

Perry pointed to his pro-life record as governor of Texas, claiming that his recent work to remove funding from Planned Parenthood in the state has already led 12 abortion facilities to close.

Santorum also weighed in, arguing that the idea of life beginning at conception is not a personal belief but a “scientific fact.”

He stressed the need for America to “get the moral issues right” in order to solve other economic and political problems.

Candidate Mitt Romney did not attend the event but defended his pro-life views during the Dec. 15 Republican debate in Sioux City, Iowa.

The former Massachusetts governor was questioned about his conversion from “pro-abortion” to “pro-life.”

He acknowledged that he had formerly supported abortion, but said that he changed his mind after questions regarding embryonic stem-cell research led him to rethink his position on life.

Romney said that his concerns led him to veto a bill that would have “created new embryos for the purpose of destroying them.” He said that he has had a strong and consistent pro-life record ever since.