Mitt Romney lies about abortion
Being pro-choice isn't just a label
By Ben Domenech Posted in Republicans — Comments (311) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
"I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time when my Mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a U.S. Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years that we should sustain and support it, and I sustain and support that law and the right of a woman to make that choice."
-Mitt Romney in a 1994 Senatorial debate
"I respect and will fully protect a woman's right to choose. That choice is a deeply personal one, and the women of our state should make it based on their beliefs, not mine and not the government's."
-Mitt Romney in a 2002 GOP acceptance speech
"I've never called myself pro-choice."
-Mitt Romney in a 2006 Redstate interview
In his latest interview with RedState, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney responds to a question about his abortion position by saying that he's never adopted the label "pro-choice."
That's all well and good. Mitt Romney wants to be called pro-life. I'd like to be the King of all Londinium and wear a shiny hat.
But let's not kid ourselves: there is no substantive difference between the position labeled "pro-choice," and declaring your support for "the right to choose." And that is something that Mitt Romney has done repeatedly over the course of his political career. To say otherwise is to tell a lie.
Mitt Romney tries to justify his position in the interview by stating that he's always been personally opposed to abortion, but did not want to impose his personal views on the populace. Even if that's true, consider this: by Mitt Romney's definition, Ted Kennedy isn't pro-choice either.
What is more likely - that Mitt Romney, supporter of Roe v. Wade, longtime believer in a "woman's right to choose," a man who is described by Massachusetts pro-life activists as having "no relationship" with their community - suddenly realizes that embryonic life matters in a meeting within the past four years, mere months after stating otherwise, and that the position he has held publicly for his entire political career was in error?
Or that, realizing that as a national candidate, his views would place him on the fringes of the Republican base and his natural religious base, he undertakes small steps to assuage concerns in a politically calculated flipflop?
Did Mitt Romney lie to try and get elected in 1994? Did he lie to try to get elected in 2002? Or is he lying to try and get elected today?
Perhaps Mitt Romney truly has had a change of heart on the issue, subsequent to his most recent election. If so, we ought to welcome it. In fact, I hope that if this is the case, Romney will embrace his conversion on the issue honestly, and relate the philosophical reasons behind his original views and the views he holds today. One does not suddenly recognize the humanity of the embryo after a lifetime of promotion and support for abortion law.
But whatever the case is, don't try to change the past: Mitt Romney has always been a pro-choice politician, whether he called himself that or not. And trusting in a position change on such a fundamental issue that occurs at such a late date, when there is such an enormous political incentive to do so, is worth only as much credence as we are willing to give it.
Consider the facts, and judge for yourself.
Gubernatorial candidates Shannon O'Brien and Mitt Romney sparred yesterday over who was the strongest abortion rights supporter by touting endorsements from abortion rights groups and challenging each other's records on the issue..."There isn't a dime of difference between Mitt Romney's position on choice and [NARAL-endorsed] Shannon O'Brien," said Kerry Healey, Romney's running mate. Lynn Grefe, director of the Republican Pro-Choice Coalition, applauded Romney's "commitment to family planning and protecting a woman's right to choose" in a letter on Wednesday.
[A] quick look at the moderates who were featured at the convention or discussed as contenders for 2008 shows that they do not make up a bloc within the Republican party, let alone a powerful one. The issues on which they are out of step with the Republican mainstream vary from person to person. Mitt Romney has been pro-choice on abortion, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rudy Giuliani are liberal on social issues generally, John McCain has been moving leftward on economic issues, George Pataki has taken liberal positions on all of the above, and Chuck Hagel has been less hawkish than most Republicans.
In 1994, Romney took on Senator Edward M. Kennedy, saying abortion should be "safe and legal." In his 2002 race for governor, he told the state Republican Party’s convention in his acceptance speech: "I respect and will fully protect a woman’s right to choose. That choice is a deeply personal one, and the women of our state should make it based on their beliefs, not mine and not the government’s." Romney also signed a Planned Parenthood questionnaire saying he supported "the substance of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade."
"I am in favor of stem cell research. I will work and fight for stem cell research," [Romney] said, adding, "I'd be happy to talk to [President Bush] about this, though I don't know if I could budge him an inch."
On Abortion Rights -- As Governor, Mitt Romney would protect the current pro-choice status quo in Massachusetts. No law would change. The choice to have an abortion is a deeply personal one. Women should be free to choose based on their own beliefs, not the government's.