by Steven Ertelt
December 14, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has become a leading topic of discussing within pro-life circles as the 2008 presidential campaign begins to heat up. Romney, who formerly took a pro-abortion position, says he changed his views on abortion several years ago when confronted with the issue of stem cell research.
In an interview with Kathryn Lopez of National Review, Romney responded to concerns from pro-life advocates that he’s "faking" a pro-life position because he’s running for president.
"I believe people will see that as governor, when I had to examine and grapple with this difficult issue, I came down on the side of life," Romney said.
Romney said he is "committed to promoting the culture of life" and admitted that "like Ronald Reagan, and Henry Hyde, and others who became pro-life, I had this issue wrong in the past."
As he has said in previous interviews, Romney told Lopez how his abortion viewpoint shifted and pointed to the issue of embryonic stem cell research.
After meeting with Harvard researchers, who told him that embryonic stem cell research shouldn’t be a moral issue because the unborn children were killed for their stem cells 14 days after conception, Romney realized he had been wrong on abortion.
"After the meeting I looked over at Beth Myers, my chief of staff, and we both had exactly the same reaction — it just hit us hard just how much the sanctity of life had been cheapened by virtue of the Roe v. Wade mentality," Romney told National Review.
"And from that point forward, I said to the people of Massachusetts, ‘I will continue to honor what I pledged to you, but I prefer to call myself pro-life,’" he said.
Romney had campaigned in 2002 saying he would not change the state’s abortion law and he wanted to keep his promise.
However, the governor told National Review that his view of future abortion law is that Roe should be overturned and states should be free to prohibit abortions.
"I do believe that the one-size-fits-all, abortion-on-demand-for-all-nine-months decision in Roe v. Wade does not serve the country well and is another example of judges making the law instead of interpreting the Constitution," he said.
"What I would like to see is the Court return the issue to the people to decide," he added.
Romney also told National Review that he thinks the GOP should retain its current pro-life position and that the Republican Party should "work to change hearts and minds and create a culture of life where every child is welcomed and protected by law and the weakest among us are protected."
He also confirmed that, as a private citizen, he has counseled pregnant women to not have abortions.
Romney’s stance is crucial because it comes at a time when the two potential Republican presidential candidates who are leading in the polls are not completely pro-life.
Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani supports both abortion and embryonic stem cell research and Arizona Sen. John McCain has been inconsistent on his pro-life position on abortion and voted to force taxpayers to fund the controversial science.
As a result, pro-life advocates may look to Romney as the pro-life alternative — especially if solid pro-life candidates like Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee, Chuck Hagel, Duncan Hunter or others fail to catch fire in the primaries.