by Steven Ertelt
February 13, 2007
Dearborn, MI (LifeNews.com) — Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney made his bid for the Republican nomination for president in 2008 official on Tuesday. Speaking at the Henry Ford Museum he focused his announcement message on innovation and change but he is still coming under fire for changing his position on abortion and pro-life issues.
Romney made the announcement in Michigan because his family name is well known there as his father served as governor of the state in the 1960s.
Michigan is also one of the early primary states following the presidential caucuses in Iowa and the first primary in New Hampshire.
"Innovation and transformation have been at the heart of America’s success," Romney said. "If there ever was a time when innovation and transformation were needed in government, it is now."
"It is time for innovation and transformation in Washington. It is what our country needs. It is what our people deserve," he said.
Romney has transformed himself on the issue of abortion — from a candidate who frequently campaigned as supporting abortion but favoring pro-life laws that would place limits on it to a full-fledged pro-life candidate.
During his announcement speech, Romney only referenced the debate on his pro-life position in passing — saying he "believe(s) in the sanctity of human life" — but that debate has dominated his campaign this far and doesn’t appear likely to let up.
Romney also mentioned the debate over nominating judges for the Supreme Court and other federal courts, saying "I believe that people and their elected representatives should make our laws, not unelected judges."
The former governor is considered one of three top-tier Republicans, along with pro-abortion New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and Arizona Sen. John McCain, who opposes abortion but favors embryonic stem cell research funding.
But he’s also up against pro-life stalwarts like Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, and others who say pro-life voters shouldn’t trust his position change, calling it a flip-flop and untrustworthy.
Romney recently told a gathering of South Carolina Republicans, "I am firmly pro-life."
But it wasn’t always that way.
He campaigned for the U.S. Senate in 1994 and for governor in 2002 as a pro-abortion candidate.
But, during his tenure on Beacon Hill, he experienced an epiphany on abortion when confronted with the issue of embryonic stem cell research.
He converted to the pro-life perspective saying Roe should be overturned and that it "cheapened the value of human life."
Romney has won over the support of some pro-life activists, having earned the endorsement of leading pro-life attorney Jim Bopp, who has served as legal counsel for various pro-life groups.
But whether the whole of the pro-life movement finds his pro-life conversion compelling remains to be seen.