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GOP2012: Republican debate, January 19th, 2012
The Reality
Fact Check

Mitt Romney Will Say Anything About Choice Depending on the Audience He’s Talking To

January 16, 2012 at 10:27 PM

Depending on the audience he’s talking to and the office he’s running for, Mitt Romney will say anything to get elected. He’s claimed to support maintaining the existing laws protecting choice and later said he’d work to change them. And most recently, Romney committed to a “Personhood Amendment” that defines life as beginning at the moment of conception, outlaws abortion in all instances and some forms of birth control.  For Romney, choice is just another issue to navigate around and use to score political points.

1993: Romney Decides To Run For Senate In Massachusetts As Pro-Choice After Looking At Polling Data That Showed A Pro-Life Candidate Couldn’t Win

1993: Romney Decided To Run As A Pro-Choice Candidate After His Pollster Showed Him Data That A Pro-Life Candidate Couldn’t Win Statewide In Massachusetts. “Scott had worked for Time Inc., and in the fall of 1993, he says, Romney asked him for advice on how to handle various issues the media might pursue in a Senate campaign. Scott gave his advice in a couple of phone conversations and a memo. In the course of the conversations, Scott says, Romney outlined his views on the abortion problem. According to Scott, Romney revealed that polling from Richard Wirthlin, Ronald Reagan's former pollster whom Romney had hired for the '94 campaign, showed it would be impossible for a pro-life candidate to win statewide office in Massachusetts. In light of that, Romney decided to run as a pro-choice candidate, pledging to support Roe v. Wade, while remaining personally pro-life.” [Washington Examiner,  12/29/11]
1994: Romney Says He’s Been Pro-Choice Since 1970
Romney: “I Believe That Abortion Should Be Safe and Legal” And “I Have Since The Time My Mom Took That Position When She Ran In 1970.” During the 1994 debate, Romney said “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a U.S. Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe .v Wade has been the law for twenty 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.” [1994 Senate Debate]
2001: Romney Writes Letter To The Editor In The Salt Lake Tribune Saying He Is Not “Pro-Choice”
2001: Romney: “I Do Not Wish To Be Labeled Pro-Choice.”  “It is an issue that could seal the fate of any aspiring Republican politician in conservative Utah.  ‘I do not wish to be labeled pro-choice,’ Romney wrote this week in a letter to the editor of The Salt Lake Tribune.  ‘I have never felt comfortable with the labels associated with the abortion issue. Because the Olympics is not about politics, I plan to keep my views on political issues to myself.’” [Salt Lake Tribune, 7/11/01]

2002:  Romney, Running Statewide In Massachusetts Again, Campaigns On Protecting Abortion Rights

Romney: “I Will Preserve And Protect A Woman’s Right To Choose.” “Let me make this very clear: I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose,” Romney said. [Associated Press, 10/2/02]

2004: Romney Says He Changed His Mind On Abortion Rights And Is Now Pro-Life After Meeting With A Stem Cell Researcher

2004: Romney Says He Changed His Mind And Opposes Abortion After Meeting With Harvard Stem Cell Researcher Douglas Melton And Said Melton Talked About “Killing” Embryos. “According to Romney, he changed his mind about abortion in 2004, during a fight in Massachusetts over embryonic stem cell research. In November of that year, he met with Harvard's Douglas Melton, a prominent embryonic stem cell researcher to discuss the issue. ‘The story goes that he was put off by the cavalier way the medical researcher talked about disposing of excess frozen embryos,’ says Ron Scott, a journalist and distant cousin of the candidate who is the author of a new biography, Mitt Romney: An Inside Look at the Man and His Politics. Scott says that meeting is what led Romney to change his mind on abortion. ‘I'm not sure of all the intricacies therein, but it was a moment for him apparently,’ he says. Only there's a problem with Romney's story. The candidate has said repeatedly that Melton used the word ‘killing’ to describe what happens to two-week old embryos in order to proceed with the research.” [NPR, 11/29/11]

2006: Romney Passes Health Care Legislation That Requires A Planned Parenthood Member To Be On The Advisory Board And Created Copays Of Less Than $100 For Abortions

Romney’s Health Care Law Required The Assignment Of A Member of Planned Parenthood To Policy Advisory Board  According to the 2006 Massachusetts Health Care Reform Bill, Subsection 16M of Section 3 creates a MassHealth payment policy advisory board, with one member being appointed by Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts.  Romney did not veto this section of the bill.  [Chapter 58 of the Acts of 2006, Signed 4/12/06]
2006: The Massachusetts Commonwealth Connector Released A Frequently Asked Questions Document That Listed Co-Pays For An Abortion At $0 - $100. A “Commonwealth Care Frequently Asked Questions” document posted on the website of the Massachusetts Commonwealth Connector the cost of services listed under “Health Benefits and Copays” included a $50 co-pay for abortion with Plan Type II and a $100 co-pay for abortion with Plan Type III. Plan Types based on poverty level and contribution rate. [Commonwealth Care Frequently Asked Questions, Massachusetts Commonwealth Connector, 12/1/06]

2011-2012: Romney Says That His Health Care Plan Didn’t Mention Planned Parenthood Or Abortion And That He Always Came Down As Pro-Life As Governor

Romney: “Our Health Care Bill Doesn't Mention Planned Parenthood In Any Way. In Fact, It Doesn't Even Mention Abortion. The Decision With Regards Abortion Funding Was A Decision By The Court – Not By The Legislature And Certainly Not By Me As The Governor.” [CBS, Early Show, 1/4/12]

Romney: Since “The First Time A Piece Of Legislation Reached My Desk That Dealt With The Issue Of Life And Abortion. I Came Down On The Side Of Life.” Romney: “I changed my position on abortion back when I was governor. The first time a piece of legislation reached my desk that dealt with the issue of life and abortion I came down on the side of life. I wrote an op-ed and said, I’m firmly pro life. I simply cannot support a piece of legislation, which would have created new embryos for the purpose of testing them and destroying them so I came down on the side of life while I was governor some years ago.” [Hannity, Fox, 11/21/11]
2011: Romney Said He Would Have Supported A State Personhood Amendment As Governor

Romney Said “Yes” He Would Have Supported An Amendment To The Massachusetts Constitution That Would Have Established Life At Conception. Huckabee: “Would you have supported the constitutional amendment that would have established the definition of life at conception?” Romney: “Absolutely.” [Huckabee, Fox, 10/1/11]

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