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Politics: February 13, 2007

Romney and the Pro-Life Vote

Ben Wren (MyManMitt) posted an exclusive interview with that James Bopp regarding his endorsement of Mitt Romney for President. Bopp has been the General Counsel for the National Right to Life Committee and many other pro-life organizations.

Although his questions are amicable, if not friendly, "MMM" gets right to the point:

MMM: Given Governor Romney's well documented statements on abortion in the past what would you say to pro-life leaders who remain concerned about Romney's commitment to the movement given his recent conversion to it?

Bopp: The pro-life movement is open to converts. Two of our most stalwart pro-life presidents, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, were converts. I believe that Governor Romney's conversion on the pro-life issue is sincere for three reasons. First, it was based on a real life pivot point, when Harvard researchers told him that there was no "moral issue" with embryonic stem cell research because they "destroy the embryos at 14 days." This had a profound effect on him.

Second, as Governor, he consistently pursued pro-life policies.


Third, I have met with Governor Romney and asked him the questions that I think need answered. I am satisfied with his answers.

Read the rest here

This type of interview will certainly benefit Romney's reputation among pro-lifers, as will the contrast Bopp makes later in the discussion between his candidate and the undeniably pro-abortion Rudy Giuliani. Playing up the similarity between Romney and Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush will provide political capital that is likely to be looked upon favorably by many social conservatives.

Hugh Hewitt argues the significance of Bopp's endorsement while slamming the MSM's anti-Romeny coverage:

His views on life have evolved from 1994, but he governed as a pro-life governor and was recently endorsed by Jim Bopp --a fact fundamental to the story of Romney's appeal to social conservatives but not mentioned in this Globe article-- which may be the most significant endorsement any Republican candidate could have received from the right-to-life grassroots as Bopp, general counsel to the National Right to Life Committee has deep ties to the pro-life community of activists across the country and great influence among them.
Despite Hewitt's overly optimistic view of Bopp's endorsement, the Romney campaign must still deal with the pro-abortion baggage of his past and present (e.g., click here and here) and explain why he supports killing the unborn when the baby is conceived in cases of incest or rape. [Certainly Romney supporters will be quick to point out that his exceptions to the pro-life position are identical to those held by President Bush (yes, I'm disappointed).]

Romney also appears to oppose a Federal Human Life Amendment to the Constitution and suggests that each state decide on its own whether or not to ban child killing in the womb. "So states like Massachusetts could stay like they are if they so desire," he told the National Journal.

And, although Hewitt takes aim at the Boston Globe article, he fails to explain why Romney supports research on "excess embryos" created during fertility treatments or why pro-life organizations approach Romney's stand on ESC with trepidation:

Tom McClusky, vice president for government affairs for the influential Family Research Council, noted that Romney, after his education on stem cell research as governor led him to abandon his past support for abortion rights, now describes himself as "firmly pro-life." But the organization is concerned that Romney's position on stem cell research is not a pure "pro-life" position.

"I would think it's going to be a problem," he said.

Sidenote: given his checkered past on life issues, one has to wonder why the Romney campaign chose to engage Sen. Samuel Brownback, a noted and respected pro-life leader, on the issue of abortion.

cross-posted: prolifeblogs.com

Posted by tim at February 13, 2007 5:20 AM

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