Having given Gingrich enormous grief for his attacks on Romney’s management of Bain Capital, it’s worth noting that his new hit on Romney on abortion is perfectly fair game, and that while the facts are less incendiary than the Gingrich ad suggests, they remind viewers that Romney once was pro-choice, governed a largely pro-choice state, and made some decisions that irk pro-lifers even after his conversion to the cause of life.
The ad states, “Romney appointed a pro-abortion judge . . .”
Fact Check: “ABC reported that Romney aides had said the governor considered a district court appointment to be different from one for appellate court, since the former rules on criminal and civil cases, not constitutional matters.” To some pro-lifers, the views of a judge in a criminal court that’s unlikely to address the issue of abortion’s legality and constitutionality may be irrelevant. But to others, the issue can never be put aside, and they would argue a true pro-lifer does not promote judges who support abortion.
“expanded access to abortion pills . . .”
The pill in question is the “morning after pill,” not RU-486.
Greg Pfundstein, executive director of the Chiaroscuro Foundation, explained in the Corner that “Plan B and similar drugs are controversial because in addition to their contraceptive effects they are known to have abortifacient effects by preventing fertilized embryos from implanting in the uterine wall.” While Romney would undoubtedly argue that the pill is more accurately classified as a contraceptive, some pro-lifers undoubtedly would interpret this as permitting a form of abortion.
“put Planned Parenthood on a state medical board but failed to put a pro-life group on the same board.”
Fact Check: “[Anne] Fox, president of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, said this issue was ‘minor’ and didn’t have anything to do with abortion. ‘The committee doesn’t decide anything that has anything to do with abortion. It is just a rate-setting thing,’ Ms. Fox told us. ‘It was not something that right-to-lifers were concerned about at the time.’”
“And Romney signed government-mandated health care with taxpayer-funded abortions.”
Fact Check finds that Massachusetts taxpayers paid for abortion before the law, and they were required to pay for it under any change to the law: “The state health care law didn’t say anything about abortion. Instead, the state exchange later decided that subsidized insurance plans would include coverage for abortion. And the exchange may have had little choice but to do so. In 1981, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that women eligible for Medicaid had a state constitutional right to payments for medically necessary abortions. In 1997, the state high court again ruled that Massachusetts must cover medically necessary abortions if it covers other medically necessary care, such as childbirth.”
In the end, the question before pro-lifers is whether they believe Romney is a completely different man than when he said this in 2002:
For what it’s worth, since entering politics, Mitt Romney has done a lot to help pro-life Republicans. And one can imagine whether a President Romney would dare cross the pro-life community once in office, if he had any desire to see a second term.