by Steven Ertelt
June 17, 2007
Kansas City, MO (LifeNews.com) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney led off a GOP presidential forum the National Right To Life Committee held on Friday at its national convention. He told the more than a thousand convention-goers that he shares their strong opposition to abortion even though he only arrived at a pro-life position recently.
"I am humbled to be standing among the many who have toiled for the pro-life movement for so long, when I arrived at this place of principle only a few years ago,” he told the crowd.
He said he appreciated the "decades of dedication and the effective advocacy" of pro-life advocates, saying "I know that it is not time but conviction that unites us."
Romney said he was a testament to the educational work of the pro-life movement and how it has persuaded millions of the value of human life.
"I proudly follow a long line of converts – George Herbert Walker Bush, Henry Hyde, and Ronald Reagan to name a few,” the former Massachusetts governor said. "I am evidence that your work, that your relentless campaign to promote the sanctity of human life, bears fruit.”
Romney echoed his past comments about how the media views politicians who shift on the issue of abortion — applauding those who become pro-abortion and castigating those who move to the pro-life side of the debate.
"Consider the double standard at work here, by the way. When a pro-life figure changes to pro-abortion, they get praised for their courage. But when someone becomes pro-life, the pundits go into high dudgeon.
The GOP candidate said he would make the same pledge with pro-life people should he head o the White House that he made with pr-life advocates when he served as governor.
"Anyone here from the pro-life community in Massachusetts knows they were always welcome in my office when I was Governor. Together we worked arm in arm,” he explained. "I can promise you this – you will be welcomed, and we will work together, if I’m fortunate enough to be elected President.”
Romney reiterated the story of how he became pro-life by confronting the issues of human cloning an embryonic stem cell research.
“I studied the subject in great depth. I have high hopes for stem cell research. But for me, a bright moral line is crossed when we create new life for the sole purpose of experimentation and destruction,” Romney said. "It was during this battle that I began to focus a good deal more of my thinking on abortion.”
“When I first ran for office, while I was always personally opposed to abortion, I considered whether this should be a private decision or whether it should be a societal and government decision. I concluded that I would support the law as it was in place – effectively, the pro-choice position,” Romney added. "And I was wrong.”
"What became clear during the cloning debate is how the harsh logic of an absolute right to abortion had cheapened the value of human life to the point that rational people saw a human embryo as nothing more than mere research material to be used, and then destroyed,” Romney explained.
After that conversion experience, Romney said he consistently made pro-life decisions as governor from that point forward.
"And so, every time I faced a decision as Governor that related to life, I came down on the side of life,” he said. "I fought to ban cloning. I fought to ban embryo farming. I fought to define life as beginning at conception rather than at the time of implantation.
"I fought for abstinence education in our schools. And I vetoed a so-called emergency contraception bill that gave young girls abortive drugs without prescription or parental consent.”
Romney said he would build on that pr-life record in Washington — especially by making sure taxpayers won’t be forced to pay for abortion or embryonic stem cell research.
"The next president, especially if faced with a hostile Congress, will be confronted with many legislative tests, such as challenging the Hyde amendment and advancing cloning. You can be sure that I will be bringing my gubernatorial experience – and my veto pen – with me to Washington,” he said.
The Republican presidential candidate said he shares the view of the pro-life movement that abortion is not a constitutional right and the courts shouldn’t be promoting it.
Some say that it is ‘OK’ for the courts to impose their personal public policy preferences on society. I am not among them,” he said. "Make no mistake: the claimed rights of abortion-on-demand are not in the Constitution.”