The Blog

Was Mitt Romney Pro-Life Before He Was Pro-Choice Before He Was Pro-Life?

3:09 PM, Nov 30, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

At the American Spectator, Joseph Lawler draws attention to this Kathleen Parker column about Mitt Romney's pro-life conversion:

The politically expedient choice was obvious, but Romney took a more thoughtful approach and sought to educate himself before staking out a position. Enter William Hurlbut, a physician and professor of biomedical ethics at Stanford University Medical School. For several hours, Hurlbut and Romney met in the governor's office and went through the dynamics of conception, embryonic development and the repercussions of research that targets nascent human life. It was not a light lunch.

The result of that conversation and others was a pro-life Romney, who kept his campaign promise to honor the state's democratically asserted preference for abortion choice but also began a personal path that happened to serve him well, at least theoretically, among social conservatives. Was his conversion sincere? No one can know another's heart, but Hurlbut is convinced that it was.

That's all interesting, but I stumbled across another revealing detail along these lines in a thorough CNN profile of Romney's religious life. In part of the profile, the author reports on Romney's time as an LDS church leader in Massachusetts years before he ran for office there. There was some apparent tension between him and a group of women in the church over, among other things, this:

[Judy] Dushku has told the story of a woman, a mother of four, who was pressured by then-Bishop Romney to go forward with a pregnancy despite advice from doctors that a medical complication made it too dangerous.

Quick digression: Yes Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans, Judy is the mother of actress Eliza Dushku. In any event, the story that Romney encouraged a woman to go forward with a risky pregnancy could well be more complicated than it's presented—Romney's camp adamantly refused to cooperate with CNN on the piece—and it doesn't exactly exonerate Romney from the charge he'll say what he needs to to get elected. But it does suggest there could be more to Romney's relatively recent pro-life views than meets the eye.

Recent Blog Posts

The Weekly Standard Archives

Browse 15 Years of the Weekly Standard

Old covers