Romney previously supported a woman’s right to decide, but he is now adamantly opposed to abortions, unless it involves cases of rape, incest or if the mother’s life is in mortal danger.
During the 1994 Massachusetts senatorial debate against the incumbent Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Romney explained that he does not belief in imposing his personal beliefs unto others, and that, as a result of the death of a relative from an illegal abortion issue, his family has supported Roe V. Wade since 1970, and the right of a woman to choose. In 2007, Gov. Romney subsequently explained in an interview with USA TODAY that he no longer feels the same about the issue, and cites his earlier position as wrong. “Ms. Sally Jacobs: If abortion is morally wrong, aren’t you responsible for discouraging it?
Gov. Romney: One of the great things about our nation, Sally, is that we're each entitled to have strong personal beliefs, and we encourage other people to do the same. But as a nation, we recognize the right of all people to believe as they want, and not to impose our beliefs on other people.
I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a US Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it, and I sustain and support that law, and the right of a woman to make that choice. And my personal beliefs, like the personal beliefs of other people, should not be brought into a political campaign. Too much has been written about religion in this race. I’m proud of my religious heritage. I’m proud of the values it has taught me, but if you want to know my position on issues, ask me, and I’ll tell you. I think the low point of this race was when my opponent and their family decided to make religion an issue in this campaign – brought it out, attacked me for it. I think that’s a mistake, I think the time has passed for that. John Kennedy was the one who fought that battle, but that battle lives for all of us of all faiths.
Senator Edward Kennedy: I would agree with Mr. Romney that religion has no place in this campaign and the best way to make sure that it doesn’t, is not to talk any further about it, and I don’t intend to do so. On the question of the choice issue, I have supported the Roe v. Wade, I am pro-choice - my opponent is multiple choice. I have not only introduced, introduced, the freedom of choice legislation, but I’ve fought for Roe and saw it successfully pass. The clinic access bill that will permit women to be able to practice their constitutional rights in selection of abortion. And I’ve also led the fight against judges in the Supreme Court of the United States that refuse to permit a woman’s right to choose.
Moderator (Mr. Ken Bode): Senator, time’s up.
Gov. Romney: Ken, on multiple choice, I gotta…
Mr. Ken Bode: Mr. Romney, you have fifteen seconds to rebut…
Gov. Romney: On the idea of multiple-choice I have to respond. I have my own beliefs, and those beliefs are very dear to me. One of them is that I do not impose my beliefs on other people. Many, many years ago, I had a dear, close family relative, that was very close to me who passed away from an illegal abortion. It is since that time my mother and my family have been committed to the belief that we can believe as we want, but we will not force our beliefs on others on that matter. And you will not see me wavering on that, or being multiple-choice, thank you very much."
October 25, 1994: The Boston Globe/Herald Massachusetts Senate Debate between Senator Edward Kennedy and Gov. Mitt Romney
Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is all too aware of that dichotomy. In 1994, when he challenged Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy, Romney said he supported the abortion rights recognized in Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision.
In 2002, when Romney ran for governor, he said he wouldn't seek to change abortion laws in Massachusetts, where most voters support abortion rights.
Now Romney, a potential presidential candidate in 2008, said in an interview that his views have changed over time.
“Understand over time one's perspective changes somewhat," he said. "I'm in a different place than I was probably in 1994, when I ran against Ted Kennedy, in my own views on that."
Massachusetts state Rep. James Vallee, a Democratic committee chairman who has worked with Romney on criminal justice issues, says the governor "is obviously trying to go a little bit to the right" as he weighs a bid for president.
What are Romney's views now? The governor said he was "personally pro-life" but declined to say more. "I choose not to elaborate on those because I don't want to be confusing to people in my state," he said
May 23, 2005: What’s a governor like you doing in a state like this? (by Susan Page, USA TODAY) “I am pro-life. I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother.”
July 26, 2005, Boston Globe, Why I vetoed contraception bill Federal ban on abortions
No. Romney favors state level legislation. “But while the nation remains so divided over abortion, I believe that the states, through the democratic process, should determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate.”
July 26, 2005, Boston Globe, Why I vetoed contraception bill
Roe v. Wade
Favors a repeal “I'd like to see Roe v. Wade overturned and allow the states and the elected representatives of the people, and the people themselves, have the ability to put in place pro-life legislation.”
5 June 2007, Republican Presidential Debate (Manchester, New Hampshire)
Agrees. "Furthermore, this legislation would make the morning-after pill available to young girls without any restrictions on age... this bill undermines the state's parental consent laws and represents a departure from the public consensus that minor children should not act without parental involvement in these matters."
Romney explaining his decision to veto the Contraceptive Bill
July 26, 2005, Boston Globe
Despite revelations that Romney attended a Planned Parenthood fundraiser in 2004 and his wife Ann, gave a $150 donation, Romney has been on record supporting moves aimed at de-funding the organization. "Mitt Romney supports the Pence amendment," Eric Fehrnstrom (Romey’s spokesman), 3 April 2011. The Pence Amendment is sponsored by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) aimed at eliminating all Title X grants for Planned Parenthood.
Embryonic stem cell research
Not in favor. “Altered nuclear transfer creates embryo-like cells that can be used for stem cell research ... I have a deep concern about curing disease. I have a wife that has a serious disease that could be affected by stem cell research and others. But I will not create new embryos through cloning or through embryo farming, because that will be creating life for the purpose of destroying it.”
3 May 2007, GOP primary debate, Simi Valley California