by Steven Ertelt
December 16, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — The Fred Thompson campaign is continuing to criticize Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney over his conversion on the issue of abortion. The Thompson camp is renewing its concerns over cheap abortions in Romney’s Massachusetts health care plan and the involvement of Planned Parenthood.
The Thompson campaign sent LifeNews.com two emails last week blasting the Commonwealth Care state-run health care program for poor residents.
This is the second time the former Tennessee senator has brought up the issue.
In a list of the services covered under the program, the Thompson campaign points to $50 abortions paid for at taxpayer expense.
The legislation used to create the program also put together a health care panel that Thompson says gave Planned Parenthood a seat at the table but not any representatives of pro-life groups.
”Romney claims to be pro-life,” the Thompson campaign said in the statement. "But under his health care plan, Massachusetts residents now have access to taxpayer-funded abortions for $50.”
Thompson’s campaign says Romney used his line-item veto to strike other sections of the health care bill but failed to eliminate the pro-abortion provisions — saying, "He did nothing to prohibit taxpayer-financed abortions as part of his plan.”
Romney spokesman Kevin Madden called the claims a "distortion" and raised rebuttals similar to those raised the last time Thompson’s camp criticized Romney over these issues.
The rebuttal includes a reference to a Massachusetts law requiring the state to pay for taxpayer funding of abortions — something the campaign says the legislature must change.
The Romney campaign has also said the health care plan was developed by an independent group separate from the governor’s office and that, "Under state law and court precedent, if the state is funding health care benefits it cannot refuse to provide abortion coverage.”
”Other campaigns will peddle distortions on the issue of life,” Madden told the McClatchy News Service, "but Governor Romney will continue to talk about his pro-life record and position.”
Romney communications director Matt Rhoades also talked about the Thompson statement with Fox News and said the information is incorrect.
"We are down the stretch and it is go-time so a lot of campaigns are using a lot of misinformation," he said.
“Governor Romney is very proud of his health care plan in Massachusetts and the attack the Thompson campaign is using is an old attack that has been refuted before and we want to focus on the issues," he added.
However, a Massachusetts group echoes the concerns of the Thompson campaign.
John Haskins of the Parents’ Rights Coalition in Massachusetts tells LifeNews.com that he thinks Romney’s people are spinning the issue to take heat away from the criticisms.
The Romney campaign has said that, in 1981, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the Massachusetts Constitution required payment for abortions for Medicaid-eligible women. The court reaffirmed the decision in 1997.
"Unfortunately, under state law and court precedent, if the state is funding health care benefits it cannot refuse to provide abortion coverage," the campaign added.
But Haskins says Romney is giving power to the top court that the state Constitution doesn’t allow.
"The state constitution says plainly that Romney must faithfully execute only the statutes the legislature has ratified, regardless of the courts’ opinions," Haskins explained. "The court has admitted this and also that they have no power over the governor."
Haskins tells LifeNews.com he believes Romney is being disingenuous to voters by running on a pro-life label but hiding actions as governor that supported abortion.
"The Massachusetts Constitution debunks Romney’s excuses," Haskins said.