Youtube Video Questions Romney’s Pro-Life Conversion Story

By John Jalsevac

ALEXANDRIA, Va., June 15, 2007 ( — While presidential candidate Mitt Romney is appearing today at a National Right to Life Conference, a new YouTube video released a few days ago appears to show that Romney’s alleged pro-life conversion story is chronologically false and misleading. (See:

"I proudly follow a long line of converts – George Herbert Walker Bush, Henry Hyde, and Ronald Reagan to name a few,” Romney says in his prepared remarks, to be delivered before the Right to Life conference today. "What some see as just a clump of cells is actually a human life. Human life has identity. Human life has the capacity to love and be loved. Human life has a profound dignity, undiminished by age or infirmity.”

According to Romney’s own account, he definitively converted to the pro-life viewpoint in November of 2004 after meeting with Harvard scientists about the stem-cell issue. “It hit me very hard that we had so cheapened the value of human life in a Roe v. Wade environment that it was important to stand for the dignity of human life,” said Romney at the time.

The video on Youtube, however, shows Romney, six months later, stating, “I am absolutely committed to my promise to maintain the status quo with regards to laws relating to abortion and choice and so far I’ve been able to successfully do that.” Since the status quo in Massachusetts at the time Romeny made this statement was easy access to abortion, pro-life advocates are interpreting the statement as effectively an endorsement for the pro-abortion cause, and at the very least evidence of an unwillingness to actively pursue protections for the unborn.

In today’s remarks Romney responded to criticisms that have been leveled at him for making that pledge to protect the status quo. "Recently, I was attacked by one of my opponents because when I ran for Governor I promised to maintain the status quo with regards to laws relating to abortion in Massachusetts. Of course, I kept that promise. But in Massachusetts, that meant vetoing pro-choice legislation – as I consistently did as Governor. That’s why last month I was honored with an award from Massachusetts Citizens for Life in recognition of the actions I took as Governor to protect life."

As a presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been going to significant lengths to court the religious right, a key demographic that many people credit with clinching President Bush’s election in 2000 and re-election in 2004. However, despite Romney’s recent attempts to assure pro-life and pro-family advocates of his unswerving dedication to the pro-life cause, his numerous apparent public flip-flops on the issue have led many to question the motives for and the true depth of his purported conviction.

Over a decade ago, in 1994, Romney stated that he was pro-choice. “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country,” he said at the time. Then, seven years later, Romney stated that he was not pro-choice. “I do not wish to be labeled pro-choice,” he said in 2001. Then, in 2002 Romney again defended the pro-choice viewpoint, saying “I respect and will protect a woman’s right to choose.” Finally, in 2004 Romney made his so-called final “conversion”, which he then appeared to contradict again in 2005.

In February of this year, however, Romney said that he “was always for life.” On a campaign stop in South Carolina, Romney stated: "I am firmly pro-life… I was always for life.

Confused by Romney’s inconsistencies, many pro-life advocates are instead turning towards presidential candidate Sam Brownback, who has an uncompromising and unapologetic record of defending the sanctity of human life in all situations.

Nevertheless, Romney does continue to attract a crowd of conservative followers who believe that the candidate has undergone a sincere conversion and has become a true defender of life from conception until natural death. Many of these also believe that Romney has a broader appeal than Brownback, and, therefore, a greater chance of actually gaining a victory in 2008. 

See related coverage:

The Romney Report: An Analysis of Republican Mitt Romney’s Legacy on Life and Family

The Romney Report: An In-Depth Analysis of Mitt Romney’s Legacy on Life and Family Continued - Part II

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