Romney is GOP holdout on personhood pledge

By WND Staff

By Jack Minor

A leader in the pro-life community says he doubts former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s pro-life credentials, because the candidate for the GOP nomination for president never has stopped flip-flopping on the issue.

While campaigning for governor in 2002, Romney said he would “preserve and protect” a woman’s right to choose.

He later said his views had changed, and Rev. Rob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council, a nationwide network of conservative pastors from all Christian traditions, endorsed him, saying, “When I asked Gov. Romney pointedly about his personal view on abortion, he told me he believes every intentional abortion is an immoral end to a human life. He is clearly pro-life.”

Columnist Ann Coulter has vigorously defended Romney’s pro-life conversion. In a recent column, Coulter said, “Romney changed his mind on abortion – not when it was politically advantageous, but when it mattered. As governor of liberal, pro-choice Massachusetts, he vetoed an embryonic stem cell bill and ‘worked closely’ with Massachusetts Citizens for Life.”

But despite these assurances, Keith Mason, president of Personhood USA, has said he believes Romney wants to have the best of both worlds in order to win the moderate vote.

The personhood movement is based on a statement in the 1973 Roe vs. Wade ruling, the Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion throughout America. Prior to the decision, abortion had been a state issue.

Writing for the majority in Roe vs. Wade, Justice Harry Blackmun said the case would collapse if “the fetus is a person,” as the unborn’s “right to life would then be guaranteed by the Constitution.”

The personhood movement is an attempt to have the unborn child declared a person and thus entitled to protection under the 14th Amendment.

Personhood USA has asked the candidates of both parties to sign a “Personhood Pledge” which states in part, “I stand with President Ronald Reagan in supporting ‘the unalienable personhood of every American, from the moment of conception until natural death,’ and with the Republican Party platform in affirming that I ‘support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and endorse legislation to make clear that the 14th Amendment protections apply to unborn children.'”

To date Romney and Barack Obama are the only candidates that have not signed the pledge.

Romney also has refused to attend three pro-life events where candidates were questioned about their position.

Mason said that Romney has divorced himself from the social conservatives in America.

“We’ve gotten the attitude from Romney that he doesn’t need those of us who are pro-life. He won’t interact with us on the Personhood pledge.”

At a recent gathering of more than 150 evangelical leaders in Texas who met to choose a candidate they could rally around, Mason said Romney only received three votes. The group eventually chose to endorse Rick Santorum.

Mason dismissed the endorsements by well-known conservatives such as Coulter and Schenck.

“He is trying to earn his credentials by getting here or there pro-family leader vouching for himself, but he won’t vouch for himself. It leaves a big question mark in my mind and many others.”

Mason said while he fully supports anyone who changes his mind from supporting abortion to being pro-life, he does not believe that is true in Romney’s case.

“On Mike Huckabee’s show, Romney said he was supportive of the Mississippi personhood amendment. However a few weeks earlier, in a debate sponsored by CNN, Romney said he would not favor protecting the pre-born under the 14th Amendment because it would create a constitutional crisis,” Mason said.

“That doesn’t sound like someone who is pro-life to me.”

Mason was referring to a Sept. 5 debate sponsored by CNN in which Romney was asked a question about abortion.

“Now, as someone who believes in the inherent and equal dignity of all members of the human family including the child in the womb, would you as president propose to Congress appropriate legislation pursuant to the 14th Amendment to protect human life in all stages and conditions?”

Romney replied that he would not support such an amendment because of the crisis it would foment.

“Now, is there a constitutional path to have the Congress say we’re going to push aside the decision of the Supreme Court and we instead are going to step forward and return to the states this power or put in place our own views on abortion,” Romney said. “That would create obviously a constitutional crisis. Could that happen in this country? Could there be circumstances where that might occur? I think it’s reasonable that something of that nature might happen someday. That’s not something I would precipitate.”

However, a month later, appearing on Fox News, Romney had a different response.

In an interview with Huckabee, Romney was asked, “Would you have supported the constitutional amendment that would have established the definition of life at conception?”

Romney replied, “Absolutely.”

Mason said if Romney still is flip-flopping on the issue how can he seriously expect pro-life voters to support him.

“I believe he’s making a half-hearted attempt at even verifying his pro-life conservative credentials.”

The Romney campaign did not respond to WND’s request for comment.

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