Opponents like to say that Mitt Romney is a flip-flopper on abortion rights, being “pro-choice” when he was trying to run in liberal Massachusetts, and now anti-choice while trying to obtain the 2012 presidential nomination.
Is it possible to be both? Probably not in a party so rabid about “family values.” But if it were, Romney’s position could actually make sense.
Salon takes a look at Romney’s past, and the woman he knew who died due to complications from an illegal abortion. The piece makes it clear why the candidate can’t finds it so difficult to fully advocate for making abortions illegal despite his obvious anti-choice faith background and desire to win the backing of evangelicals.
The outlines of the story first became public when Romney — unprompted — brought it up in that 1994 debate with Kennedy, whom he was trying to unseat. At the time, Romney, who was making his first bid for office, was struggling to prove his pro-choice bona fides to liberal Massachusetts voters. In the debate, he insisted that he separated his personal beliefs — opposition to abortion — from his policy position that abortion “should be safe and legal in this country.” Accused by Kennedy of being “multiple-choice,” Romney angrily fired back:
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“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 that 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.”
Can Romney ever find a way to be anti-choice enough for the GOP with this story in his background? I guess it depends on how badly he wants the nomination.