The Spectacle Blog

Speaking of Romney

By on 12.21.06 | 6:50PM

Ramesh Ponnuru has a thoughtful post on The Corner about how pro-lifers should deal with questions regarding Mitt Romney's changing abortion views:

I think we ought to be unsentimental about this question. Those of us who favor Romney’s position on sanctity-of-life issues ought to care less about its sincerity than about its stability. We ought to care about whether he will abandon the position, that is, not whether he truly believes it.

As I’ve said before, I can’t judge Romney’s sincerity -- his timing is suspect but past signals plus his eloquence on life issues may indicate there is something to his conversion. Yet he didn’t switch only once, like George H.W. Bush.

In 1994, Romney accepted an endorsement from Massachusetts Citizens for Life while running for the Republican senatorial nomination against a pro-choice primary opponent. He emphasized his opposition to taxpayer funding of abortion and the Freedom of Choice Act, which threatened to codify Roe.

Then, when challenged on the issue, Romney emphasized that he was in fact pro-choice, had been since before Roe, and recounted the tragic circumstances that he said led his family to support legal abortion. Romney suggested he might support a modified version of the Freedom of Choice Act and that he believed Medicaid funding of abortion should be left up to the states.

While in Utah/>/> in 2001, he wrote a letter to a newspaper saying he no longer wanted to be labeled pro-choice. Yet when he returned to Massachusetts/>/> to run for governor, he embraced the label once again. He declined to fill out the Mass. Citizens for Life candidate survey, but gave pro-choice answers on NARAL's survey. Starting in 2005, he began gravitating toward his current pro-life position.

Romney certainly may be sincere. But so far, he hasn’t been stable.

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