Mitt Romney on Abortion

Last Updated : Sep 03, 2012


Mitt Romney began his political career in Massachussetts as a pro-choice candidate. This included his 1994 unsuccessful run for the Senate and his 2002 bid that earned him the Governor's seat. He announced his conversion to pro-life after being confronted by a 2004 law to allow "fetus farming" and that while he had always been pro-choice in theory, when faced with the reality of the situation he realized that he was pro-life. He has held this position since that time.

While seeking the Presidential nomination in 2008 and 2012, Governor Romney has asserted that life begins at conception, and that Roe vs Wade should be overturned and the issue returned to the states. He has stated that once this is done, he would support a Human Life Amendment to ban abortion across the country.

1994 Senate and 2002 Gubernatorial Campaign

While running for the US Senate in 1994, he stated that abortion should be legal in the US, and that Roe vs Wade should be sustained and supported. He also noted a story where a friend of the family died after obtaining an illegal abortion.

While running for Governor in 2002, Mitt Romney asserted in a debate that he would preserve and protect a woman's right to choose and that he would not change any provisions of Massachusetts's pro-choice laws. He repeated this pledge in an interview and a 2002 debate where he stated that as Governor, he would be devoted and dedicated to upholding a Massachusetts abortion laws.

Changing Viewpoint

By 2005, several sources were questioning Governor Romney's position on the issue of abortion. In May of that year, in an interview relating to a proposed stem cell research law, Governor Romney reiterated his stance that he would not alter or threaten Massachussetts pro-choice laws. He asserted that as Governor, his views had not affected Massachussetts laws relating to abortion.

In July of that year, Governor Romney vetoed legislation that would have made the morning after pill available for minors without a prescription. To describe this action, he wrote an opinion piece in the Boston Globe and asserted that the measure would terminate a life after conception. He asserted that signing this legislation into law would violate his pledge to Massachussetts voters not to alter state laws relating to abortion. In that same op-ed, he stated that he was in fact pro-life and that he believed that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother.

In 2007, Governor Romney stated that he was converted to a pro-life stance by a 2004 proposed law that would have allowed for "fetus farming" and the growth of embryonic stem cells for the purposes of destruction and reseach. He stated that while he had been previously pro-choice in theory, when confronted with the real effects of that choice, he felt compelled to act to prevent the destruction of life. He noted that while he opposed this law and converted to pro-life, he felt that he had not violated his oath to uphold standing Massachussetts abortion laws.

2008 Presidential Campaign

In May of 2007, Governor Romney asserted in an interview that he had always been personally pro-life and that he had taught that view to others in his  faith. He stated that his real question was what role the government should play. He noted that the Supreme Court made a decision and he supported that decision. However, after watching the impact of that decision as governor of Massachusetts and the cheapening of life in the debate concerning cloning and embryo farming, he believed that a civilized society has to respect the sanctity of human life. He finished by asserting that in his view, the people should make this decision, not the court.

Later in that year, Governor Romney stated in a debate that he would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned and allow the states and the elected representatives of the people to put in place pro-life legislation if they desired to do so. He noted that it was his aspiration that at some point we'll see a nation that doesn't have abortion, meaning that the desire of any person to seek an abortion no longer existed.

Late in 2007, Governor Romney sent out a mailer asserting that he was the only pro-life candidate in the race that supported the Republican platform of a amendment banning abortion nationwide. When questioned on this, his campaign personal stated that while such an amendment was not possible at this time, overturning Roe vs Wade and allowing the states to decide was possible.

In a December 2007 interview on Meet the Press, Governor Romney asserted that he had always personally been pro-life and that he now fully supported the Republican platform. He stated that as far as all legal questions, life begins at conception but noted that no one could know scientifically.

2012 Presidential Election

Governor Romney's 2012 statements have been identical to those 2008 statements. He has asserted that he believes in the sanctity of life from the very beginning until the very end. When asked about how this view would affect supreme court appointments, Governor Romney stated that he would like to appoint to the Supreme Court justices who believe in following the constitution as opposed to legislating from the bench, meaning that in his view the federal government has no right to dictate abortion laws to the states. He added that he would like to see that Supreme Court return to the states the responsibility to determining laws related to abortion, as opposed to having the federal Supreme Court from the bench telling America and all the states how they have to do it.

Governor Romney's 2012 campaign website asserts his pro-life views, and the need to overturn Roe-vs-Wade. He also states that he supports the Hyde amendment to prevent the use of government funds overseas from being used to support abortion. He specifically notes that he will not turn a blind eye to China's one child policy or other policies of forced sterilization.


1994 Debate

While participating in a debate in 1994, Mitt Romney stated that he believed that abortion should be safe and legal in the US and that Roe vs Wade was the law of the land and should be supported. He also tells the story of a family friend who passes as a result of an illegal abortion (video shown later).


2002 Gubernatorial Debate

In 2002, Mitt Romney participated in a debate while running for the Governor's office and asked about his position on abortion. He stated that he would preserve and protect a woman's right to choose. He stated that he refused to have the labels of pro-choice or pro-life placed upon him. He stated that he was committed to upholding the right to choose laws in Massachusetts.


2002 WBZ-TV Interview

In 2002, Mitt Romney was interviewed as part of the Governor's race in Massachusetts. He states that he would unequivocally support a woman's right to choose.


Press Conference

In a May 27, 2005 Press Conference, Governor Romney stated that since assuming office, he had been able to maintain his pledge to maintain the status quo with regard to abortion laws.


Veto of Emergency Contraception Bill

On July 26, 2005 Governor Romney wrote an op-ed in the Boston Globe discussing his recent decision to veto a bill allowing emergency contraception. In that op-ed, he states his opposition to abortion except in the cases of rape, incest, or to protect the mother's life.


Hugh Hewitt Interview

On July 27, 2005 Governor Romney was interviewed by Hugh Hewitt about his recent veto of the Ru486 bill, and other abortion related topics.


ABC News Interview

In February of 2007, Governor Romney was interviewed by George Stephanopoulis for ABC News. When asked about his position on abortion, Governor Romney noted that he had become more pro-life and wanted to overturn Roe vs Wade to return control of the issue to the states. Once this was accomplished, he would push for a federal means to outlaw abortion.


National Review Institute

In January of 2007, Governor Romney spoke at the National Review Institute and stated that he had changed his views on abortion.


South Carolina Debate

In May of 2007 Governor Romney participated in the South Caroline Presidential debate. He was asked about his previous position on abortion in relation to his current position.


CNN Interview

In June of 2007, Governor Romney was interviewed on CNN and asked about his changed position on abortion. He states that while he ran as essentially pro-choice, but his record as Governor indicates that he was pro-life. He notes that he simply changed his mind.


New Hampshire Debate

In the September 2007 Presidential debate, Governor Romney was asked about abortion, and his two-step solution for addressing abortion.


South Carolina Mailer

In November of 2007, Governor Romney's Presidential campaign sent a mailer addressing the issue of abortion. The mailer stated that Governor Romney was:

When questioned about the mailer, Romney's advisor on "life issues," James Bopp, Jr., stated that Romney believes an amendment is "not possible right now" because the votes are not there, "but what is possible is reversing Roe vs. Wade." Bopp also stated that Romney's state approach is consistent with "a federalism approach" because a constitutional amendment would ultimately require ratification by three-fourths of the states.


Meet the Press

In December of 2007, Governor Romney appeared on Meet the Press and was questioned about his position on abortion. His statements in 1994 and 2002 are shown in which he declared that a woman's right to choose should not be infringed, and asked about his support for the official Republican platform against abortion. He stated that he supported the official Republican party platform that abortion should not be legal. He stated that he desired to see Roe vs Wade overturned and control of the issue returned to the states. He also stated that he would support a "Human Life Amendment" to ban all abortion across the state.


Manchester Town Hall

In June of 2011, Governor Romney spoke at a town hall in Manchester, New Hampshire and was asked about his views on abortion and if he would support a move to criminalize abortion. He stated that the matter should be returned to the states.


New Hampshire Debate

In June of 2011, Governor Romney participated in the Republican debate in New Hampshire. He stated that his record on the issue of abortion was clear and that he was pro-life from birth to death.


Palmetto Freedom Forum

In August of 2011, Governor Romney participated in the Palmetto Freedom Forum. He was asked about pursuing Congressional action to overturn Roe vs Wade. He states that he would appoint judges that abided by the constitution on abortion.


2012 Campaign Website Statements


[1] Website: ABC News Article: Mitt Romney: The Complete Interview Author: NA Accessed on: 06/10/2011

[2] Website: Americans for Mitt Article: Mitt Romney on the Issues - Abortion Author: NA Accessed on: 06/11/2011

[3] Website: CNN Article: Questions about Romney's South Carolina abortion mailer Author: Peter Hamby Accessed on: 06/14/2011

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