Ann Romney: ‘Mitt Has Always Been a Pro-Life Person’

By Fred Lucas | October 22, 2012 | 1:06 PM EDT

Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney and Ann Romney (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

( – Ann Romney, wife of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, said her husband has “always been a pro-life person,” but conceded “he ran pro-choice” for office in Massachusetts.

Ann Romney talked about the issue during an Oct. 18 interview on the ABC daytime talk show, “The View.” Abortion has been a sensitive issue for Romney, both during the Republican primary and the general election largely, because his position has shifted from his two Massachusetts campaigns and his two presidential campaigns.

“The View” co-host Barbara Walters asked, “One of the things about your husband is that when he was a governor, he was pro-choice and now is against abortions except in the case of rape and incest and the life of the mother. I wonder what your views are? Were you the same way when he was the governor? Have you changed? I’m sure you’ve had discussions about this.”

Ann Romney responded that her husband was always pro-life.  

“You know, the good news is I’m not running for office, and I don’t have to say what I feel, but I am pro-life,” Ann Romney responded. “I’m happy to say that. Mitt has always been a pro-life person. He governed when he ran pro-choice--”

Walters interjected, “Explain that to me?”

Ann Romney reiterated what her husband said was the moment that changed his position on the matter.

“When a decision came across his desk to use embryos for experimentation he could not have on his conscience, creating human life for experimentation,” Ann Romney said. “And that’s when he came out with an editorial saying he was pro-life. I think we all have to understand that this is an issue that is so tender and there are people on both sides of the issue that come with very good conscience, come with a different opinion.

“I think the most important thing we can do is have respect for each other in this dialogue and understand that we are talking about two separate lives,” she added.

When Romney was a candidate for Senate in Massachusetts, during a debate with Sen. Ted Kennedy in 1994, he 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 20 years, it should be sustained and supported, and I sustain and support that law and support the right of a woman to make that choice,” according to an Oct. 26, 1994 article in the Boston Globe.

In 2002, when he ran for governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney said in a debate against Democrat Shannon O’Brien, “Protecting a woman's right to choose, I've been very clear on that. I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose and I'm very dedicated in honoring my word. I will not change any provisions in Massachusetts on pro-choice laws. And as far as considering the age of consent, it is currently 18 years old. If one wants to have an abortion younger than that, one has to have a parent go along and go to a judge or justice,” the Boston Globe reported on Oct. 30, 2002.

In a July 26, 2005 op-ed in The Boston Globe, Gov. Romney wrote, “I understand that my views on laws governing abortion set me squarely in the minority in our Commonwealth. 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. I wish the people of America agreed, and that the laws of our nation could reflect that view.”

Romney vetoed a bill in Massachusetts to expand access to the “morning after” pill, an abortion-inducing drug and opposed embryonic stem-cell killing research while serving as governor.

During a CNN debate among Republican presidential primary contenders on Nov. 28, 2007 during Romney’s first presidential campaign, the candidates were asked, “If Roe vs. Wade was overturned and Congress passed a federal ban on all abortions and it came to your desk, would you sign it, yes or no?”

Romney said, “I would welcome a circumstance where there was such a consensus in this country that we said, we don't want to have abortion in this country at all, period. That would be wonderful. I'd be delighted.”

CNN’s Anderson Cooper followed, “The question is: Would you sign that bill?”

Romney responded, “Let me say it. I’d be delighted to sign that bill, but that’s not where we are. That’s not where America is today. Where America is, is ready to overturn Roe v. Wade and return to the states that authority, but if the Congress got there, we had that kind of consensus in that country, terrific.”

During his second presidential run, Romney wrote an op-ed for National Review on June 18, 2011 with the headline, “My Pro-Life Pledge.”

“I am pro-life and believe that abortion should be limited to only instances of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother,” Romney wrote. “I support the reversal of Roe v. Wade, because it is bad law and bad medicine. Roe was a misguided ruling that was a result of a small group of activist federal judges legislating from the bench.”

He further wrote: “I will advocate for and support a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion,” and “I will support efforts to prohibit federal funding for any organization like Planned Parenthood.”

The issue came up again earlier this month, Oct. 9, when Romney was interviewed by the Des Moines Register editorial board and an editorial board member asked, “Do you intend to pursue any legislation specifically regarding abortion?”

Romney answered, “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.”

The next day Romney stated, “I think I’ve said time and again that I’m a pro-life candidate and I’ll be a pro-life president,” CBS News reported. “The actions I’ll take immediately is to remove funding for Planned Parenthood. It will not be part of my budget.

“And also I’ve indicated that I will reverse the Mexico City position of the president. I will reinstate the Mexico City policy, which keeps us from using foreign aid for abortions overseas,” he added.