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5/3 Debate: Romney's Roe v. Wade Flip-Flop

In the debate last Thursday former Governor Mitt Romney was prepared and ready when asked about his position on Roe v Wade.

  • Question: "Governor Romney, in recent months, you've said you were, quote, "always for life," but we've also heard you say you were once, quote, "effectively pro-choice." Which is it?"

  • Governor Romney: "Well, I've always been personally pro-life, but for me, it was a great question about whether or not government should intrude in that decision. And when I ran for office, I said I'd protect the law as it was, which is effectively a pro-choice position."

    "About two years ago, when we were studying cloning in our state, I said, look, we have gone too far. It's a "brave new world" mentality that Roe v. Wade has given us, and I changed my mind."

Here's Mitt Romney, in an October, 1994 Senate campaign debate with Senator Ted Kennedy, in which he clearly states "I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country." He affirms this by saying it's been his position for the preceding 24 years. Kennedy states that he's pro-choice and calls Romney "multiple choice" -- and Romney is given 15 seconds to respond - click on the "play" button in the bottom left-hand corner, below:

As the clip demonstrates, Romney will look voters squarely in the eye and say whatever he has to say to get elected.

Let's look back at the very first sentence in his answer on last Thursday's debate. "Well, I've always been personally pro-life." Does this lay the groundwork for another Romney flip-flop? If his concerns over stem cell research were addressed would he return to his long-held pro-choice beliefs since he's personally pro-life?

Perhaps after a failed run at the presidency, Romney will return to Massachusetts and mount another campaign for U.S. Senate, and at that point he'll look the predominantly-liberal Massachusetts voters in the eye and tell them he has come to realize the errors of his ways, and he's returned to his "pro-choice" roots.

America doesn't need another liar in the White House.

In a January 29, 2007 appearance on ABC's Nightline Romney states that this flip-flop of his actually occurred two years ago.

"Well, you know, we all learn from experience. And I'm just like other people in this nation. Not everything I believed 12 or 13 years ago is the same today, with regards to the issue of abortion. And so about two years ago, I said I am pro-life. And prior to that time, I had a different position."

He claims to have said two years ago that he was pro-life, but I can't find any record of that statement (if you have a link email me and I'll update this post).

And for some odd reason the National Review Conservative Summit January 2007 speech (which Romney is responding to in his Nightline appearance) is not among those listed at the official Romney campaign website. I located the following quote at "Anchor Rising":

Now, there's one key social issue where I did not run as a social conservative, at least one. That was with regards to abortion. I said I would protect a woman's right to choose an abortion. I've changed my view on that, as you probably know.

Let me tell you the history about that. Some years ago, when I was at the Olympics, I met a guy named Mark Lewis. He was head of our marketing there. He told me that he was a finalist for a Rhodes scholarship. I don't know how far he got. His final interview was with a German interviewer and the interviewer said to him "Mr. Lewis, who is one of your political heroes?" and he said Ronald Reagan. The German had the predictable response -- *GASP*. He said how in the world can you square that statement with what Churchill said, which is that "a young person who is not a liberal has no heart?" Mark responded by repeating the last portion of that Churchillian comment, that "an older person who was not a conservative had no brain" and adding "I, Herr Doctor, simply matured early".

On abortion, I wasn't always a Ronald Reagan conservative. Neither was Ronald Reagan, by the way. But like him, I learned with experience.

In my case, the point where that experience came most to bear was with regards to learning about stem-cell research. Let me tell you, there are so many different ways of getting stem cells. I was delving into that because my legislature was proposing new legislation that re-defined when life began. I think it's interesting that the legislature thinks it has the capacity to make that determination. Our state had always said that life began at conception, but they were going to re-define when life began, so I spent some time learning (with, by the way, a number of people in this room who helped) about all of the different types and sources of stem-cells, not only adult stem cells and umbilical stem cells and stem cells from existing lines, but also surplus embryos from in-vitro fertilization. I supported all of those.

But for me, there was a bright-line when you started creating new life for the purposes of destruction and experimentation. That was somatic-cell nuclear transfer (or cloning) and also what's known as embryo farming. At one point, I was sitting down with the head of the stem-cell research department at Harvard and the provost of Harvard University, and they were explaining these techniques to me. I imagined in my mind this embryo farming. Embryo farming is taking donor sperm and donor eggs and putting them together in the laboratory and creating a new embryo. If that's not creating new life, then I don't know what is. I imagined row after row after row of racks of these, created either by the cloning process or the farming process. At that point, one of the two gentleman said, "Governor, there's really not a moral issue at stake here, because we destroy the embryos at 14 days". I have to tell you, that comment and that perspective hit me very hard. As he left the room with his colleague, I turned to Beth Myers, my chief of staff, and said I want to make it real clear: we have so cheapened the value and sanctity of human life in our society that someone can think there's not a moral issue because we kill embryos at 14 days.

Shortly thereafter, I announced I was firmly pro-life.

Again, any help locating Romney's announcement from two years ago where he publicly announces his pro-life flip-flop is appreciated.

WND's Star Parker is skeptical about Romney's sincerity as well:

I find former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's explanation that he suddenly turned anti-abortion two years ago as a result of the cloning issue a bit hard to swallow. Somehow, the 45 million abortions that occurred from 1973 to 2005 were insufficient to move Romney, but suddenly he woke up because of cloning?

Mitt Romney is a political chameleon who lacks the integrity to be our President.


Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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