Mitt Romney Restates Abortion Change, Allowing Some Embryonic Research

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 17, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Mitt Romney Restates Abortion Change, Allowing Some Embryonic Research Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 17,

Washington, DC ( — Mitt Romney participated in a weekend interview with Tim Russert of the NBC program "Meet the Press" and he restated, as he has countless times before, why he changed his position on abortion. Romney also reiterated his position allowing researchers to destroy human embryos from fertility clinics for scientific studies.

Russert played a couple of videos from previous elections where Romney said he would not waver in his support for legalized abortion.

Asked why he changed his position, Romney shared the old story of confronting the destruction of human life through embryonic stem cell research and how it prompted him to become pro-life.

"Well, you know, Tim, I was always personally opposed to abortion, as I think almost everyone in this nation is. And the question for me was, what is the role of government?" Romney explained.

Romney said he now believes that life begins at the point of conception.

"I do. I believe, I believe from a, from a, a political perspective that life begins at conception. I, I don’t, I don’t pretend to know, if you will, from a theological standpoint when life begins," he explained.

The former Massachusetts governor also restated his position that his supports a human life amendment and overturning Roe v. Wade but doesn’t think Americans are ready for the amendment yet.

"My view is that the right next step in the, in the fight to preserve the sanctity of life is to see Roe v. Wade overturned and then return to the states and to the elected representatives of the people the ability to deal with, with life and abortion on their own," he said.

"And ultimately, as, as an aspirational goal, I would love it if America came to a point where we’re not today, where the people of America would, would welcome a society that did not have abortion. But that’s not where we are, and so I’m not promoting or fighting for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion in all 50 states," he added.

He said that abortion bans would not punish women but hold abortion practitioners accountable in the same way the partial-birth abortion ban does with fines, loss of medical license and prison terms.

On the issue of stem cell research, Romney again said he opposes the purposeful creation and destruction of human life.

However, he also would allow the destruction of human life by letting scientists destroy human embryos from fertility clinics for experiments.

"From a legal standpoint, I would outlaw cloning to create new stem cells and I would outlaw embryo farming," he said. "I would allow, on a private basis, the use of surplus embryos, so-called surplus embryos from in vitro fertilization, and likewise the existing lines."

Russert followed up on that point.

"But to be clear, the embryos that are so-called surplus in vitro clinics are destroyed for research, and you support that?" the MSNBC host asked.

"The term support is perhaps not the exact word I’d choose," Romney replied. "I would not outlaw it. I would allow, I would allow private laboratories and private institutions–as we currently do, and as the president does as well–to use these so-called surplus or embryos to be discarded."

Romney added a caveat that he supports embryo adoption and would promote that if elected president.

"That’s the, that’s the course I’d prefer. But I would not outlaw the use of these, of these surplus embryos if the parents so directed," he said.

When it comes to federal funding for stem cell research, he said funds should be directed at alternatives to the use of embryonic stem cells.

"I think the best source of our funding application should be in what are known as alternative methods," he said.

"But this recently saw a major breakthrough with direct reprogramming of, of human adult cells to become stem cells that can be very potent cells applied to help cure disease and, and serious conditions," he said.

"And the, the source of great cures in this country is going to come from this, this, this alternative method of creating stem cells without having to create new embryos, but instead focusing on taking adult cells, turning them into stem cells just as we’ve seen with these great breakthroughs by Asian and American scientists," he added.