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Mitt Romney's Change of Heart Regarding Abortion

Posted on 1/3/2008 1:45:00 PM

Republican President hopeful Mitt Romney is facing fire over the swing in his stand on abortion. Abortion is the subject of much debate in the U.S. Political opinions regarding adoption are divided with the Republican right being largely pro-life and the Democratic left tending to be pro-choice.

Earlier, in 1994, Romney was publicly pro-choice, declaring support for a "woman's right to choose." What's more he continued to maintain this stand up to 2002. In 2002, Romney expressed his pro-choice stand in his responses to a Planned Parenthood questionnaire. To the question, "Do you support the substance of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade?" Romney answered, yes. On the question, state funding of abortion for low-income women Romney answered yes. In reply to the question about whether he supported women's access to emergency contraception (the "morning after pill" designed to prevent pregnancy if taken within 72 hours), Romney again answered in the positive.

He similarly answered a questionnaire of the National Abortion Rights Action League, or NARAL (now called NARAL Pro-Choice America), and issued a statement, saying, "I respect and will protect a woman's right to choose. This choice is a deeply personal one. Women should be free to choose based on their own beliefs, not mine and not the government's. The truth is no candidate in the governor's race in either party would deny women abortion rights. So let's end an argument that does not exist and stop these cynical and divisive attacks that are made only for political gain.

During the Massachusetts GOP convention in 2002, Romney said, "Believing in people is protecting their freedom to make their own life choices, even if their choice is different from yours," Romney said. "Accordingly, I respect and will fully protect a woman's right to choose. That right is a deeply personal one, and the women of our state should make it based on their beliefs, not mine and not the government's." Romney also got the endorsement of the Republican Majority for Choice.

Gradually however, Romney began to backtrack on his pro-choice stand. He said he was "personally" pro-life, but, asserted that his personal view would not affect the laws relating to abortion. However, when Democrat Shannon O'Brien criticized Romney, referring to him as "multiple choice", Romney retorted, "Let me make this very clear: I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose." In February 2005, as governor of Massachusetts, Romney claimed that a meeting with a scientist from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute had the effect of changing his views on abortion. Henceforth Romney declared himself unequivocally pro-life.

However, many believe Romney's shift in stance regarding abortion was part of a clever political strategy. Romney's pro-choice stand was necessary to win as governor from Massachusetts. And it served its purpose. However, now that he hopes to be nominated for president by his party, the GOP, he has simply dropped his pro-choice credentials. It is as simple as that.

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