Mitt Romney Becoming More Pro-Life on Abortion, But Doubt Remains

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 28, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mitt Romney Becoming More Pro-Life on Abortion, But Doubt Remains Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 28, 2005

Boston, MA ( — When he vetoed state legislation this week promoting the sometimes abortion-causing morning after pill, Mitt Romney authored an opinion piece that hinted the formerly pro-abortion Massachusetts governor is moving more towards the pro-life position.

In various interviews of the last several months, Romney has said that he no longer supports legal abortion and he has called himself "pro-life." Romney also vetoed a bill promoting embryonic stem cell research and said the measure forced him to take a new look at the beginning of human life.

When Romney ran for governor in 2002, he said he supported the "substance" of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion and signed a pro-abortion pledge sponsored by Planned Parenthood. However, in his op-ed, Romney appears to favor overturning the landmark decision.

"I believe that the states, through the democratic process, should determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate," Romney wrote.

"The federal system left to us by the Constitution allows people of different states to make their own choices on matters of controversy, thus avoiding the bitter battles engendered by ”one size fits all" judicial pronouncements," Romney explained. "A federalist approach would allow such disputes to be settled by the citizens and elected representatives of each state, and appropriately defer to democratic governance."

Romney said his position his position ”evolved and deepened" because of the stem cell research debate.

”In considering the issue of embryo cloning and embryo farming, I saw where the harsh logic of abortion can lead — to the view of innocent new life as nothing more than research material or commodity," Romney wrote.

Reaction to Romney’s views has been mixed from pro-life advocates with some saying his change of heart on abortion is nothing more than an acknowledgment that he can’t win the 2008 Republican presidential nomination with a pro-abortion view. Others say they hope Romney is for real.

“We’re always happy to welcome converts to the pro-life movement," Carol Tobias, political director for the National Right to Life Committee, told

"But he said he would not impose his views on the ‘pro-choice majority’ of Massachusetts," she added. "If he believed that the country was pro-choice, does that mean he wouldn’t work to stop abortion? I’m still skeptical."

Hadley Arkes, professor of political science at Amherst College and a leading pro-life advocate, told the Boston Globe, ”The people long seasoned in the movement will find very refined points where they’d want to either quibble with him or offer instruction to him as a newfound friend."

”But I think people would see here the clear signs of somebody who wants to say he shares their perspective and wants to move in their direction," Arkes added

Evelyn Reilly, director of public policy for the Massachusetts Family Institute, a pro-life group, is one of those who thinks Romney’s shift on abortion may be legitimate.

”When you go through the thought processes on stem cell research, which forces you to think about what an embryo is, you have to be intellectually honest and say conception is the beginning of a human life, so this has solidified in his mind," Reilly told the Boston Globe.

”I think his understanding of the beginning of human life has grown and deepened, probably as a result of the stem-cell issue," Reilly added.