Mitt Romney on Protecting the Innocent

Terence P. Jeffrey | April 13, 2022 | 4:01am EDT
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Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) voted to confirm Ketanji Brown Jackson to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

When Mitt Romney was running for the Senate in Massachusetts in 1994 against incumbent Sen. Ted Kennedy, he wanted voters to know that he favored legalized abortion at least as much as Kennedy did.

When he and Kennedy debated on Oct. 25 of that year, reporter Sally Jacobs of the Boston Globe asked Romney about the issue.

"Mr. Romney, you personally oppose abortion and as a church leader have advised woman not to have an abortion," said Jacobs. "Given that, how could you in good conscience support a law that enables women to have an abortion and even lets the government pay for it?

"If abortion is morally wrong, aren't you responsible for discouraging it?" she said.

"I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country," Romney said in part of his response.

"I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a U.S. Senate candidate," he said. "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."

Eight years later, when he was still in Massachusetts but now running for governor, Romney reiterated his support for the legalized killing of unborn babies.

"I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard. I will not change any provision of Massachusetts' pro-choice laws," Romney said in a debate during that campaign.

Five years after that, when he was running for the Republican presidential nomination, Romney took a dramatically different position on abortion.

He now declared that if there were a national consensus that "we don't want to have abortion in this country at all," he would be "delighted" to sign a bill to completely prohibit it.

Although Romney indicated he did not believe America was at that point yet, he did say he believed Americans were ready to overturn Roe v. Wade.

"I agree with Sen. Thompson, which is we should overturn Roe v. Wade and return these issues to the states," Romney said in a Republican presidential primary debate on Nov. 26, 2007.

"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," Romney said.

"That would be wonderful. I would be delighted. I'd be delighted," he said. "Let me say it, I would 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 this country, terrific," he said.

Today, Romney is a senator from Utah — not Massachusetts.

Now, he favors abortions only when the child being killed was conceived through rape or incest or when the abortion is to "protect the life of the mother."

"While most regulation of abortion takes place at the state level, I oppose abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the mother, and I support longstanding federal prohibitions on taxpayer funding for abortion," he says on his Senate website.

What this signifies is that through most of his 30-year political career, Romney has failed to take a logical position on the most profound role of government: protecting human life.

It is a biological fact that an unborn child is a human being. A person who deliberately kills an unborn child is deliberately killing a human being.

When Romney ran for the Senate against Kennedy in 1994, he said he believed it should be "safe and legal" to do so.

When he ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2002, he said he would "preserve and protect a woman's right to choose" to do so.

When he ran for president five years later, he took the exact opposite position, saying he would be delighted to sign a bill completely banning abortion.

Now, he says he does not oppose abortion in cases of rape and incest.

Given that an unborn child is a human being, this means Romney favors the legalized killing of some human beings. In this case, their capital offense is having been conceived through rape or incest.

Last week, Romney joined Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine as one of three Republicans who voted to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court.

As a private lawyer, Jackson argued that anti-abortion activists could be prohibited from handing out brochures on a public sidewalk in front of an abortion clinic.

In her confirmation hearings, she declared that she did not "hold a position on whether individuals possess natural rights," and there is no doubt that, as a justice, she will vote to deny those rights to an unborn child.

In a statement explaining his support for Jackson, Romney said, "she more than meets the standard of excellence and integrity."

(Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of

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