The head of the statewide pro-life group in Massachusetts has released a new statement following Thursday night’s Republican debate saying Mitt Romney is “consistently” pro-life.
Massachusetts Citizens for Life President Anne Fox made the following statement on what she said are false attacks on Romney’s record:
“Since being elected governor, Mitt Romney has had a consistent commitment to the culture of life. As governor, he worked closely with Massachusetts Citizens for Life. Misguided attempts to blame Mitt Romney for the fact that state-funded health care in Massachusetts funds abortion ignore the facts. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in 1981 that the Massachusetts Constitution requires the funding of abortion. This decision forces Massachusetts to fund abortion to the same extent it funds other medical procedures. A 1986 attempt to overturn the court ruling with a Constitutional Amendment failed. Obviously, in providing health coverage, the governor and the legislature were bound by this decision.”
Fox’s comments mirror those from David French, Senior Counsel at American Center for Law and Justice and former attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund:
Let’s make one thing perfectly clear, any abortion coverage contained in Massachusetts insurance plans is required by Massachusetts legal precedent that Mitt could not alter. The Weekly Standard raised this issue in a recent piece by John McCormack:
Some social conservatives don’t buy Romney’s defense that it’s all the fault of the judges. “You know what I would think if I were a pro-lifer? That’s a pretty darn good reason not to have the government take over the health care system,” says Steve Deace, a Christian conservative Iowa radio host and longtime Romney antagonist. “Forget the mandate, which is wrong to begin with. The first moral principle is don’t murder.”
Why would Romney expand access to government-subsidized health care if those plans would cover elective abortions? David French of Evangelicals for Mitt says that argument is a “classic example of not understanding what an actual governor of an actual blue state has to face.”
French argues that by going to the Heritage Foundation for advice and using what leverage he had, Romney got the best deal he could in Massachusetts. “Doing nothing wasn’t a realistic alternative,” he says. “People need to get over the idea that he’s coming out of Texas. He’s coming out of Massachusetts.”
“Mitt Romney did not have the option of saying . . . that there won’t be government involvement in Massachusetts health care,” says French. “He was a conservative governor facing a veto-proof [Democratic] supermajority in both houses dead-set on a particular kind of health care reform.”
Regarding Planned Parenthood’s presence on a state panel, yes they apparently have a reserved slot (along with 13 other representatives) on something called the MassHealth Payment Policy Advisory Board (not on the “planning board for the health care plan” as some have claimed). This Board has no authority over abortion policy and in fact has no real power except to compile reports and make recommendations).
Pro-life people of all stripes will continue to debate whether Romney is sufficiently pro-life. What is for certain is that he is campaigning as a pro-life advocate and he would be significantly better than Obama, who is massively pro-abortion.