Romney on Abortion

There are a number of “Voter’s Guides” circulating around the pro-family/pro-life movement which contain inaccurate information regarding Mitt Romney’s record on abortion. These Voter’s Guides are based upon information submitted by the candidates, a notoriously inaccurate way to assess them. A far more accurate way of determining whether a politician will vote correctly on pro-life issues is their actual record. The two largest groups engaged in distributing inaccurate Voter’s Guide are the Family Research Council and the National Right to Life PAC.

This type of Voter’s Guide can be easily “gamed” by candidates seeking pro-life support; indeed, a candidate who owned abortion clinics could fill out a Voter’s Guide questionnaire “correctly” and thereby be portrayed as pro-life. The failure to create Voter’s Guides based on a candidate’s actual abortion record has led to the election of candidates who have not always voted pro-life. Regarding Romney, the difference between what he says on the campaign trail and his actual record is huge.

It is possible a politician could change his views on the abortion issue so we have decided to judge Romney based only on his actions on abortion since his very public pro-life conversion in November, 2004. Here is what we found:

2004–2007. Romney invested in stem cell research. Romney invested in Novo Nordisk and Millipore, two companies involved in stem cell research. He also had investments in Warner Chilcott, the firm that produces Loestrin,an abortifacient. (1) Romney maintained investments in these companies for three years after his conversion but never bothered to instruct his trust manager to avoid investing in anti-life companies until after it became public knowledge. (2)

2004–2007. Romney promoted Planned Parenthood’s clinics on his Dept. of Health website during his entire term of office. Under “family planning services,” Romney’s Dept of Health appointees listed and promoted nearly every abortion clinic in the state, including those operated by Planned Parenthood. An archived picture of the Dept of Health website can be found in the footnotes.(3)

2005. Romney refused to advance the pro- life agenda while Governor, even after his “conversion.” Yes, the Massachusetts legislature was and is controlled by the left, but regardless, Romney made little to no effort to fight for pro-life issues or even fight against pro-abortion causes. Indeed, shortly after his conversion Romney even boasted about his “success” with ignoring pro-life issues in a video clip now on You Tube: “I am absolutely committed to my promise to maintaining the status quo with regards to laws relating to abortion and choice and so far I’ve been able to successfully do that….”(4)

2005. Romney forces Catholic hospitals to distribute the abortion pill. In 2005 the Massachusetts legislature passed a bill requiring all hospitals to provide women with the abortion pill. Even though Romney had campaigned on expanding access to the abortion pill he vetoed this bill, an action which has become a fixture in pro-Romney propaganda “proving” he fought for pro-lifers while Governor. What the Romney forces don’t mention, however, is that Romney reversed himself on this issue a few days later! The legislature, as expected, overrode the veto, but incredibly, Romney, after being previously opposed to the bill, then announced, ”I think, in my personal view, it’s the right thing for hospitals [referring to private hospitals] to provide information and access to emergency contraception to anyone who is a victim of rape.” By not fighting for the rights of private Catholic hospitals Romney created a horrible precedent of allowing government to strip away the religious freedom rights of a private institution. (5)

2005-2007. Romney belonged to a pro-stem cell research GOP group. Romney belonged to the Republican Main Street Partnership, a group supported by George Soros that made stem cell research its most important issue. Its web site listed Romney as a gubernatorial member during the 109th Congress which ended in 2007. Wikipedia describes the group as being allied “with other moderate Republican groups, including Christine Todd Whitman’s It’s My Party Too, Ann Stone’s Republicans for Choice, the Log Cabin Republicans, the Republican Majority For Choice…” . In 2005, the group was instrumental is passing the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act in the House of Representatives, a bill Romney publicly SUPPORTED even though he now claims to oppose it. (6)

2005-2007. Romney appointed pro-abortion judges to the bench. The Boston Globe reviewed Romney’s judicial nominations and found that Romney “passed over GOP lawyers for three-quarters of the 36 judicial vacancies he has faced, instead tapping registered Democrats or independents – including two gay lawyers who have supported expanded same-sex rights.” Given the fact the Democrat party in Massachusetts is extremely pro-abortion, we can assume most of the Democrats Romney nominated to the bench were pro-abortion. Many of the appointments occurred after Romney’s conversion, including that of Stephen Abany, a far left Democrat homosexual activist nominated in 2005. Another example would be the nomination of liberal pro-abortion Democrat Matthew Nestor to a lifetime seat on the Somerville District court. Even ABC described Nestor as “an avowed supporter of abortion rights.” (7)

2006-Present. Romney develops a “states rights” position on abortion. In Romney’s words: “My hope is that the Supreme Court will give to the states over time or give to the states soon or give to the states their own ability to make their own decisions with regard to their own abortion law.” He is opposed to a “single federal rule” and thus opposed to a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution. If one believes abortion is murder, why would you allow states to decide whether or not murder is permitted? However, he has also told some pro-life activists he now supports a HLA as long as it has exemptions for life of the mother, rape, incest, and embryonic stem cell research. HLA is opposite of the States Rights approach. Which approach does he favor? It depends who Romney is talking to. (8)

2006. Romney introduced RomneyCare which dramatically increased state funded abortions. As Governor, Romney signed into law a government-controlled health care behemoth which mandates all citizens pay into. The program covers abortion and makes it much easier for people to obtain a state-funded abortion for as low as $50. The Romney team claims the state Supreme Court ruled in 1981 and 1997 “that the state constitution required payment for abortion services for Medicaid-Eligible women.” However, a court ruling is not a law and is not binding unless the legislature codified it – and there’s no evidence it did. (9) Moreover, the two court decisions made clear the state was only to fund “medically necessary” abortions, a phrase not found in the RomneyCare legislation. Indeed, the legislation doesn’t have any restrictions on abortion. One can have an abortion funded by the state for any reason whatsoever. While state funded abortions existed in the past, RomneyCare created a whole new category of people now eligible for abortions. Around 250,000 previously uninsured women are now eligible for state-funded abortions. According to studies, at least 25% of all women have an abortion at some point, which means 62,000 women previously not covered will likely get an abortion compliments of RomneyCare. (10)

Romney also created a permanent position for a Planned Parenthood representative on the MassHealth Payment Policy Advisory Board that governs RomneyCare. No, there are no pro-life representatives involved in any capacity with RomneyCare nor is there any evidence that Romney or his team fought for legislative language restricting abortion in any way – such as banning third term abortions. However, they did choose to fight with the legislature over certain aspects of dental care coverage. More disturbing, Romney also fought to keep coverage of in-vitro fertilization out of the bill so at least he is consistently anti-life. (11)

2006. Romney’s administration gave funds to build a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic. In November, 2006, Romney’s economic development agency approved a $5 billion tax-exempt bond to be used by Planned Parenthood to build an abortion clinic in Worchester. Romney claims he “was not aware” of what his own appointees were doing, but this begs the question: If Romney is unable or unwilling to control what his own appointees do when it comes to abortion-
related decisions, why would things be different when he’s president? (12)

2006. Romney made no effort to oppose Planned Parenthood’s radical sex ed bill. Romney’s refusal to use his power as governor to help with pro-life issues is echoed by Ray Neary, the director of Pro-Life Massachusetts. In 2006, he issued this statement: “Since his election as governor, he has not lifted a finger to allow one single unborn child the breath of our environment, and his posture has been to stay aloof from a messy issue. The Romney record in support of our efforts in this state is zero…there’s no evidence of a Damascus experience by Mitt Romney on abortion…On the Opt-in rather than Opt-out issue regarding sex education, while low-level personnel were always pleasant, it was impossible to get an appointment with a single [Romney] staffer to discuss the ramifications of the mandated Sex Ed core curriculum proposed by Planned Parenthood (H1641).” This 2006 bill never made it to Romney’s desk for a number of non-ideological reasons, but Romney never spoke against it or used his power to lobby legislators about it. (13)

2007. Romney opposed legislative interventions to save Terri Schiavo. In the course of the 2008 presidential election, when Romney was questioned about efforts by Congress to save the life of Terri Schiavo, he responded, “I think it’s probably best to leave these kinds of matters in the hands of the courts.” Then he said, “I generally think that it’s not a good idea for courts to legislate. Nor is it a great idea for the legislature to adjudicate in a specific circumstance.” In others words, allow Schiavo to die. (14)

2007. Romney refused to state his position on laws that require ultrasound screening before an abortion. While campaigning in South Carolina, a reporter asked Romney about his position on the pending ultrasound bill, but all he would say is that “I would like to see each state be able to make its own law with regards to abortion.” Does he really think such a bill is that controversial? (15)

2007 to present. Romney continues to support stem cell research. Romney says he opposes creating human embryos for research purposes (cloning), yet, he supports research on stem cells “obtained from surplus embryos from invitro fertilizations,” even though there is no moral distinction. The Republican National Coalition for Life, founded by Phyllis Schlafly, states that “Romney’s claim that he is ‘pro-life’ is belied by his position on the ‘use’ of human embryos for research purposes.” Carol Tobias of National Right to Life stated, “He’s still in favor of killing new lives that are in existence right now.” (16)

Footnotes

(1) http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1882949/posts; http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1882601/posts;
http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2007/8/15/193454.shtml
(2) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/14/AR2007081401710.html?referrer=digg
(3) http://web.archive.org/web/20050828131253/http://www.mass.gov/dph/fch/fpalist.htm
(4) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxV-QNXoRIc
(5) These websites cover the controversy: http://www.catholiccitizens.org/platform/platformview.asp?c=30353; http://www.boston.com/business/healthcare/articles/2005/12/07/private_hospitals_exempt_on_pill_law/; http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2005/12/09/romney_says_no_hospitals_are_exempt_from_pill_law/; http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051209/NEWS/312099957&cid=sitesearch;
http://www.macathconf.org/05emergencycontraupdatejuly.htm; A video or Romney switching his position can be viewed here: http://realserver.bu.edu:8080/ramgen/w/b/wbur/wburnews/2005/me_1209_2.rm
(6) www.potomacdesign.com/RMSP/members.htm; http://www.potomacdesign.com/RMSP/stem_cell_main_temp.htm; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Main_Street_Partnership; http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=3279653&page=1
(7) http://www.boston.com/news/politics/2008/specials/romney/articles/part6_main/; ABC News.com, 6/14/07,
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=3279653&page=1; http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/03/25/78
(8) National Journal, 02/10/07; We are in possession of messages from prolife activists which confirm such conversations with Romney.
(9) To see the actual site for Commonwealth Care during the Romney era which list “abortion” as a “service for a $50 co-pay, go here: https://www.mahealthconnector.org/portal/binary/com.epicentric.contentmanagement.servlet.ContentDeliveryServlet/About%2520Us/Connector%2520Programs/Additional%2520Resources/cc_benefits1220_pt234.pdf
(10) Kaiser Family Foundation, “Fact Sheet,” State Estimates of Health Insurance Coverage of Women Ages 18 to 64,” 2003-2004, http://www.kff.org/womenshealth/upload/1613-05.pdf
(11) http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2006/Chapter58; Boston Globe, 5/05/06,
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2006/05/05/reilly_appoints_3_members_to_new_state_healthcare_board/
(12) Boston Globe, 12/29/07, http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2007/12/29/romney_officials_approved_clinic_loan
(13) Statement issued on 12/20/06 by Ray Neary
(14) St. Petersburg Times, 3/11/07
(15) http://hotlineoncall.nationaljournal.com/archives/2007/04/the_republicans_1.php
(16) http://www.rnclife.org/faxnotes/2007/feb07/07-02-02.html; http://www.deseretnews.com/article/print/600111316/Romney-sets-off-a-stem-cell-furor.html

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

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