A group of pro-life activists in Massachusetts, where Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is a former governor, say the GOP hopeful is sufficiently pro-life following his conversion to the pro-life position several years ago.
Romney is one of several candidates seeking to replace pro-abortion President Barack Obama and, for the majority of Republicans who are pro-life, the abortion issue is still salient despite the economic downturn dominating the political discussion. Some pro-life advocates have said they don’t trust Romney to be a pro-life stalwart in the White House, but these pro-life advocates say Romney will be a pro-life president.
A group of conservative leaders in Massachusetts, led by Kris Mineau, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Family Institute, Mary Ann Glendon, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, and Ray Ruddy, President of the Gerard Health Foundation have written what they say is “an accurate statement of what Governor Romney did and did not do as Governor of Massachusetts.”
In an email with a statement about Romney the pro-life advocates sent to LifeNews, they said, “In the past few weeks, Governor Romney’s work in Massachusetts has been distorted. This is not an endorsement, but simply a statement of fact.”
“For example, Governor Romney has been blamed for putting abortion in the Massachusetts healthcare insurance reform law,” they said. “These accusations are simply untrue,” they added, saying the decision to fund abortions in the state’s health care plan was forced by the Massachusetts Supreme Court.
The statement reads in part:
We hail from a broad spectrum of organizations dedicated to fighting for the pro-family agenda in Massachusetts. As you know, Mitt Romney served as the governor of our state from January 2, 2003 to January 3, 2007. During that time, we worked closely with him and his excellent staff on that agenda
Some press accounts and bloggers have described Governor Romney in terms we neither have observed nor can we accept. To the contrary, we, who have been fighting here for the values you also hold, are indebted to him and his responsive staff in demonstrating solid social conservative credentials by undertaking the following actions here in Massachusetts. The following is not an endorsement of Governor Romney but our account of the facts to set the record straight.
* Affirmed the culture of life: Governor Romney vetoed bills to provide access to the so-called “morning-after pill,” which is an abortifacient, as well as a bill providing for expansive, embryo-destroying stem cell research. He vetoed the latter bill in 2005 because he could not “in good conscience allow this bill to become law.” [related]
We do not agree with the claims that Gov. Romney is responsible for tax payer funded abortion under the Massachusetts health care system. That blame lies solely on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court who ruled in 1981 that the Massachusetts Constitution required payment for abortions for Medicaid-eligible women. In 1997, the Court reaffirmed its position that a state-subsidized plan must offer “medically necessary abortions.”
* Fought for abstinence education. In 2006, under Governor Romney’s leadership, Massachusetts’ public schools began to offer a classroom program on abstinence from the faith-based Boston group Healthy Futures to middle school students. Promoting the program, Governor Romney stated, “I’ve never had anyone complain to me that their kids are not learning enough about sex in school. However, a number of people have asked me why it is that we do not speak more about abstinence as a safe and preventative health practice.”
We are aware of the 1994 comments of Senate candidate Romney, which have been the subject of much recent discussion. While they are, taken by themselves, obviously worrisome to social conservatives including ourselves, they do not dovetail with the actions of Governor Romney from 2003 until now – and those actions have positively and demonstrably impacted the social climate of Massachusetts.
Since well before 2003, we have been laboring in the trenches of Massachusetts, fighting for the family values you and we share. It is difficult work indeed – not for the faint of heart. In this challenging environment, Governor Romney has proven that he shares our values, as well as our determination to protect them.
For four years, Governor Romney was right there beside us, providing leadership on key issues – whether it was politically expedient to do so or not. He has stood on principle, and we have benefited greatly from having him with us.
It is clear that Governor Romney has learned much since 1994 – to the benefit of our movement and our Commonwealth. In fact, the entire nation has benefited from his socially conservative, pro-family actions in office.
Other signers of the document include Rita Covelle, President, Morality in Media Massachusetts; Gerald D. D’Avolio, Former Executive Director, Massachusetts Catholic Conference; Raymond L. Flynn, Former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See; Dr. Roberto Miranda, COPAHNI Fellowship of Hispanic Pastors of New England; James F. Morgan, Chairman, Institute for Family Development; Joseph Reilly, Former Chairman of the Board, Massachusetts Citizens for Life; and Thomas A. Shields, Chairman, Coalition for Marriage and Family.
The document follows a much-distributed article written by pro-life ACLJ attorney David French refuting what he sees are some of the misconceptions about Romney’s pro-life position on abortion.