Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has not been criticized as heavily for his past support for public funding of abortion as fellow Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani has in recent weeks. But Romney's speech in front of a pro-life group tomorrow night may bring new focus on Romney’s own struggle with the issue.
On the issue of using public funds to help low income women obtain an abortion, Romney critics say he has committed a flip-flop-flip: he was against it his 1994 US Senate race, for it during his 2002 run for governor, and saying just two weeks ago he was against it if he were president.
This is in conjunction with the Romney campaign's confirmation today that his wife, Ann, gave the pro-choice group Planned Parenthood a $150 donation in 1994.
Romney will be the keynote speaker Thursday night at the Massachusetts Citizens for Life Mother's Day Pioneer Valley Dinner in Agawam. The speech comes at a time when Romney has been aggressively courting the conservative wing of the Republican Party as he runs for president.
While running for the US Senate in 1994 he told the Globe: “I am not in favor of government funding of abortion,” he said. “I don’t think government should either promote or prevent abortion.”
Yet, Romney's rivals in the campaign have pointed out that in a Planned Parenthood questionnaire in 2002, he was asked: “Do you support state funding of abortion services through Medicaid for low-income women?” He responded, “yes.”
In the same questionnaire he said also support sex education in public schools and said he would support increased access to so-called “morning after pill.”
Romney has said that he became pro-life after hearing the debate over stem-cells.
On a recent trip to New Hampshire when he was asked if he favored public funding of abortions now, he said he opposed it.
“There should not be public funding for abortion in my view. We have the Hyde Amendment which prevents federal funding. In my view abortion should not be funded by the federal government or by taxpayers. Each state can make a different choice, of course,” he said.
Through a ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the state does pay for abortions for low-income women. Because of the ruling, Romney’s health care law does offer an option to pay for abortion with public funds.
Giuliani has been the targeted for his pro-choice stance his position that low-income women or victims of rape and incest have access to taxpayer funded abortions.