At the National Right to Life Convention, Republican Presidential Candidate Michele Bachmann told pro-life supporters, “This isn’t the time for the Republican Party to put up a candidate who is weak on the pro-life issue or has a history of flip flopping over it.”
Many saw this as a swipe at front runner for the Republican nomination- Mitt Romney. Romney has often been questioned about his views on abortion, and many feel that he has never sufficiently answered his critics’ questions on the matter. He refers to his days as Massachusetts Governor, claiming “Every piece of legislation which came to my desk [as] governor, I came down on the side of preserving the sanctity of life.” But looking at his record even slightly will reveal that he was, up until very recently, a proponent of pro-abortion laws.
In 1994 he stated that he believed, “that abortion should be safe and legal in this country… since Roe v. Wade has been law for twenty years that we should sustain and support it.”
He also endorsed the legalization of RU- 486, an abortion inducing drug and attended Planned Parenthood fundraisers, where his wife donated money to the pro-abortion organization.
In 2002, while running for Governor of Massachusetts, Romney vowed to “preserve and protect a woman’s right to chose” and promised not to change any provisions of Massachusetts law as it related to abortion rights. During the campaign, he also indicated on a Planned Parenthood Candidate Questionnaire that he supported the substance of Roe v. Wade, and was in favor of Medicare funding for abortion procedures. He also told the pro-abortion group NARAL (National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League) at an interview: “You need someone like me in Washington.”
In 2004 he claimed to have an epiphany regarding stem cell research after meeting with Harvard stem cell researcher Douglas Melton. Romney claimed that Melton told him “’Look, you don’t have to think about this stem cell research as a moral issue, because we kill the embryos after 14 days.” Melton disputed this, saying that Romney mischaracterized their meeting and said that “…killing or anything related to it” was not discussed.
But barely two months after his supposed pro-life conversion took place, Governor Romney appointed an avowed pro-abortion judge to a permanent position in the Massachusetts judicial system.
In 2005 Romney publically promised to maintain the “status quo” in Massachusetts on abortion rights once again, and expanded the coverage of “family planning services”, such as the morning after pill, to low income residents in his state.
That same year, he ordered all hospitals in the state to provide the morning after pill to rape victims, including Catholic hospitals who argued that this practice was against their religion and therefore their consciences. Romney did not grant them immunity.
But it is 2006’s “Romney Care” that is most likely to anger the pro-life community. Though Governor Romney had line-item veto power, and used it on eight different measures within the health care bill, he managed to leave several important pro-abortion measures in the bill. Under the Massachusetts law, there is tax payer funding for abortions, and the state’s website lists the co-pay for abortion as $50. He also left in a provision guaranteeing Planned Parenthood a permanent seat on the State’s Health Payment Policy Advisory Board, which dictates which procedures are covered and to what extent. Not surprisingly, “Romney Care” was endorsed by such pro-abortion stalwarts as Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, and Planned Parenthood.
In 2007 Romney announced his candidacy for President on the Republican ticket, and began marketing himself as a champion of pro-life legislation, when in reality, his record as a candidate and a Governor was anything but pro-life.
It should therefore worry conservatives that with an already shaky platform when it comes to social issues, Governor Mitt Romney has recently refused to sign a pledge to a pro-life organization and to the people of America.
For many in the Republican Party, the sanctity of life is more than an “issue”, it is a passion and a part of their very moral fabric. And with suspicions already high due to his religious beliefs, and his controversial former support of gay marriage, Romney should be concerned about his standing with social conservatives. And social conservatives should be worried about where Romney stands in general.