Mitt Romney Hints at Change on Abortion Views for Possible 2008 Run

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 25, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mitt Romney Hints at Change on Abortion Views for Possible 2008 Run Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 25, 2005

Boston, MA ( — Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is considering a possible candidacy for the presidency in 2008. However, one obstacle stands in his way of capturing the Republican nomination — his stance in favor of abortion. But, Romney says that could be changing.

In an interview with USA Today, Romney said he "is in a different place" on abortion now than when he ran for the U.S. Senate in 1994 and indicated he supported legal abortion.

Some pro-life advocates supported Romney in his candidacy against Ted Kennedy because he supported legislation that would reduce abortions, but they were chagrined that he would not oppose abortion in general.

”Understand, over time one’s perspective changes somewhat," Romney told USA Today. ”I’m in a different place than I was probably in 1994, when I ran against Ted Kennedy, in my own views on that."

Romney would not elaborate on whether he has come full circle to adopt a pro-life position on abortion.

Yet, the governor, an anomaly in a state mostly controlled by Democrats, has won praise from the pro-life community for his strong stance against embryonic stem cell research.

Though the state legislature is ramming through legislation that would promote embryonic stem cell research, Romney has been forceful and active in his opposition to it and pledged to veto the bill.

Romney made news in February when he made a speech at a meeting of South Carolina Republicans and called himself pro-life.

The chairman of South Carolina’s Spartanburg County Republican Committee, where Romney spoke at a banquet, says Romney had a conversation with him and said he was "pro-life."

"I had a meeting with him one-on-one and he told me he is definitely pro-life,’’ Rick Beltram said. "He said he is personally against abortion but isn’t going out to change the rules — that’s a pro-life position."

Yesterday, Romney responded to questions from reporters about the speech and said: "My position is the same, I do not favor abortion personally – I’m personally pro-life, if you will. But I do favor maintaining the laws in the commonwealth as they are, and that’s the commitment I made.”

However, that kind of "personally opposed" position has never won lawmakers support form pro-life groups. They say a candidate is not pro-life unless he supports changing laws to put those beliefs into policy.

Referring to a former Democratic presidential candidate, Carol Tobias of the National Right to Life Committee told the Boston Herald at the time, "John Kerry said that he was personally opposed to abortion but wouldn’t do anything to stop it. Mitt Romney’s position doesn’t seem any different.”

If he does not take a more clear pro-life position, that may ultimately be Romney’s undoing in a Republican primary for president.