Mitt Romney Upsets Abortion Advocates by Denying Birth Control Honor

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 23, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mitt Romney Upsets Abortion Advocates by Denying Birth Control Honor Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 23, 2006

Washington, DC ( — When trying to appeal to certain constituent groups in presidential elections, it’s sometimes the little things that can count the most. Mitt Romney apparently understands that and has upset abortion advocates by not signing on to an annual proclamation honoring a Supreme Court decision allowing birth control.

Observers say the move is designed to appeal to pro-life advocates as Romney, the governor of Massachusetts, considers a potential 2008 presidential bid.

Romney, who has renounced his pro-abortion views of years past, declined to issue what has become an annual proclamation recognizing the Supreme Court’s 1972 decision legalizing birth control for unmarried people.

That’s the first time in ten years that the proclamation has not been issued.

Romney signed the proclamation last year, but he changed the wording of it to not also honor the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that allowed virtually unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy.

Romney’s decision has upset abortion advocates who say the birth control case was an important precursor to Roe because it helped establish the so-called right to privacy that the high court used to validate abortion.

Bill Baird, the plaintiff in the Eisenstadt v. Baird birth control case, told AP that Romney is flip-flopping on the issue, but a Romney spokeswoman told the Associated Press that no one should expect a proclamation will always be issued by the governor’s office.

Whether he’s truly had a change of heart on abortion or realizes the political realities of getting elected, 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.

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 in January, 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.’’