NARAL Pro-Abortion Group Takes Aim at Mitt Romney

Politics   |   Andrew Bair   |   Dec 15, 2011   |   3:00PM   |   Washington, DC

NARAL President Nancy Keenan took aim at pro-life Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Wednesday, penning a strongly worded editorial published by the Huffington Post.

Keenan laments Romney’s change of heart on abortion, noting Romney ran as a pro-abortion candidate in 2002 but took pro-life actions as governor of Massachusetts. Much to the chagrin of Keenan and other abortion advocates, Romney has held fast to his pro-life convictions since his conversion on the issue in 2004. Now, in his race for the presidency, Romney has become a prime target of pro-abortion groups.

Keenan blasts Romney for supporting pro-life efforts to stop taxpayer funding of abortion through the No Taxpayer Funding of Abortion Act (H.R. 3) and the Protect Life Act (H.R. 358). Keenan once again perpetuates the pro-abortion myth that by not using taxpayer dollars to pay for abortions women will die.

Contrary to Keenan’s extreme characterizations, poll after poll indicates the American public does not favor their tax dollars being used for abortions. Romney echoes this view and has not wavered in his support for this legislation. In fact, Romney has publicly pledged to eradicate taxpayer funding of abortion and federal funding for groups that provide or promote abortion like Planned Parenthood.

Romney’s support for an eventual human life amendment to the US Constitution was also the target of Keenan’s editorial. Keenan intentionally blurs the lines between federal and state human life amendments. A federal amendment to the US Constitution, which is a painstakingly difficult process requiring action by both Congress and two-thirds of the states, would have the effect of superseding the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision and protecting unborn children.

An amendment to a state constitution, typically referred to as a personhood amendment, would neither provide legal protection for unborn children nor provide a challenge to Roe. The Supreme Court has already ruled on state efforts to modify language to state constitutions declaring life beginning at conception in both the Akron and Webster decisions.

Romney, who sympathized with the well-intentioned efforts of many pro-life advocates in Mississippi to pass Initiative 26 (Personhood amendment), shares the goals of the broader pro-life movement, which seeks to enact effectual protections for unborn children. Keenan tries to tie Romney to Initiative 26’s defeat at the polls, asserting Romney is even more extreme than the majority of voters in conservative Mississippi.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Romney’s position on abortion mirrors that of the broader pro-life movement, which currently holds as immediate goals the repeal of the pro-abortion Obama healthcare law and restrictions on taxpayer funding of abortion. These efforts are widely popular and politically feasible. And even more importantly, they save lives. Only a very narrow portion of the pro-life movement supports a personhood amendment strategy because, in the end, it does not actually provide any legal protection for unborn children. That is why the strategy in Mississippi was not endorsed by leading pro-life organizations like the National Right to Life Committee, Americans United for Life or the Susan B. Anthony List.

Romney’s position on abortion, unfiltered by fear-mongering abortion advocates like Nancy Keenan, was released both on his campaign website and in an article for National Review.

Romney commits himself to reinstating the pro-life Mexico City Policy, ending funding for Planned Parenthood and the United Nations Population Fund, renewing the Hyde Amendment, advocating for a federal Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act and appointing strict constructionist judges to the US Supreme Court. Romney’s pledge is even stronger than previous pro-life presidents in many aspects. After the disastrous presidency of Barack Obama, it’s clear we need a president who will stand on the side of vulnerable human life. Romney’s pledge indicates he will do just that.

NARAL’s assault on Mitt Romney did not begin with Keenan’s editorial in the Huffington Post. Just last month, the group issued a press release attacking Romney’s pro-life position:

“Without question, former Gov. Mitt Romney is anti-choice. His position is clear: if elected president, he would attack a woman’s right to choose,” said Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “As governor, Romney claimed to be pro-choice, yet he later vetoed a bill that would have improved rape survivors access to information about and access to emergency contraception. He has recently made statements in support of a state constitutional amendment banning abortion. There is nothing moderate about blocking women’s access to contraception or backing an abortion ban. We will ensure that every voter who values women’s freedom and privacy knows that Romney is unacceptable.”

Some conservatives question the authenticity of Romney’s conversion from pro-abortion to pro-life but it’s clear the other side has no doubts about the type of president Romney would be.

Mary Ann Glendon, Harvard Law professor and former Ambassador to the Vatican, entered the national spotlight after refusing an award from Notre Dame after the university announced it would be giving an honorary degree to pro-abortion President Obama.  Glendon currently serves on Romney’s team of judicial advisers and is outspoken in defense of Romney’s pro-life views.

Nancy Keenan ends her Huffington Post editorial commenting on the historic nature of the 2012 election, “Indeed, the next president could nominate enough Supreme Court justices to determine the future of Roe v. Wade and women’s constitutional right to choose for decades to come.” This is perhaps the one sentence of the piece with which pro-life advocates can agree.

Next year’s election will be absolutely critical for the pro-life movement with the Supreme Court within just one vote of overturning Roe vs. Wade, the decision that has victimized over 53 million unborn children and broken the hearts of so many mothers.