by Steven Ertelt
January 27, 2006
Boston, MA (LifeNews.com) — After pro-life voters rejected a pro-abortion senator from Massachusetts, they probably won’t be ready to vote for a pro-abortion governor from the Bay State either in 2008. Whether he’s truly had a change of heart on abortion or realizes the political realities of getting elected, Gov. Mitt Romney says he’s now pro-life on abortion.
When he ran in 1994 against pro-abortion Sen. Ted Kennedy, Romney took a position in favor of legalized abortion.
Pro-life advocates said he was preferable to Kennedy if only because he opposed taxpayer funding for abortions and supported pro-life laws like parental notification. But his official position on abortion itself was not pro-life.
Some 12 years later, Romney has had a change of heart and the cause is an issue that has had some anti-abortion Republicans upsetting pro-life groups because of their compromises: embryonic stem cell research.
In an interview with Knight Ridder, Romney said he "in a different place today than I was 12 years ago" on pro-life issues.
He favored abortion and "[t]hen came the stem-cell research debate in Massachusetts."
"And I got more involved in the issue of when human life begins. I’m not talking about from the religious standpoint. I’m talking about from the medical and scientific standpoint," he explained.
"Where do I draw the line? …The line is at conception. Life, a scientific point, begins at conception," Romney added. "I know when you take a sperm and an egg and put them together…it is alive and it is human. …So it’s human life.’’
Romney seemed to prove his pro-life credentials when he overturned legislation approved by the Massachusetts state legislature backing the destructive research, even though he knew state lawmakers had enough votes to override his veto.
On overturning Roe v. Wade, Romney told Knight Ridder, "My preference would have been and would be today for the court to say each state could be able to adopt its own policy with regard to abortion and choice."
"We would have been better off had each state been able to develop their own policy," Romney added.
Then Romney told Knight Ridder something that may make pro-life advocates shudder and wonder whether he has really come full circle on abortion.
"That way a state like mine, Massachusetts, would be overwhelmingly pro-choice and I as governor would do exactly as I have committed," he explained. "I’m not going to change the laws. You’ve chosen pro-choice, it’s a democratic society, you’ve chosen it, I’ll keep it in place."
Supporting the overturning of Roe is a great first step for a formerly pro-abortion elected official. But pro-life advocates would hope Romney would use the bully pulpit of his position as governor to press for a ban on abortions in his own state, under such a scenario.
How this change of heart will play out in the 2008 Republican primaries remains to be seen.