The Kuyperian Commentary

Politics, Economics, Culture, and Theology with a Biblical Viewpoint

Romney’s Loss: The Abortion Factor

by Adam McIntosh

Nothing puzzled me more than when conservatives kept insisting that Mitt Romney was a pro-life candidate for president. Many voters cast their ballot for Romney last week because of the abortion issue alone. Likewise, many Americans – including Christians – didn’t vote for Romney because of the abortion issue alone. Not because they are pro-choice, but because they don’t believe Romney is truly pro-life. It is an undeniable fact that Mitt Romney has been on both sides of the abortion debate throughout his career. Inconsistency is usually a good sign of not being trustworthy, but people can change their minds. For now, we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

The official narrative we are given is that Romney converted to the pro-life position in 2004. Throughout the 2012 campaign, he has used the typical pro-life rhetoric to his advantage. His website even had a great section on protecting the unborn. So far, so good. One could easily conclude that his days of supporting legal abortion and funding Planned Parenthood are done and in the past. But what did he say in the months leading up to election night?

On September 9th Romney was asked on NBC’s Meet The Press if he would fight to overturn Roe v. Wade. He replied:

Well, I don’t actually make the decision the Supreme Court makes and so they’ll have to make their own decision … I’ll reverse the president’s decision on using U.S. funds to pay for abortion outside this country. I don’t think also the taxpayers here should have to pay for abortion in this country … I hope to appoint justices to the Supreme Court that will follow the law and the constitution. And it would be my preference that they reverse Roe v. Wade and therefore they return to the people and their elected representatives the decisions with regards to this important issue.”

Though not the best answer, it is consistent with a pro-life position. Let’s continue.

On September 23rd Romney told CBS:

My position has been clear throughout this campaign. I’m in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother. But recognize this is the decision that will be made by the Supreme Court. The Democrats try and make this a political issue every four years, but this is a matter in the courts. It’s been settled for some time in the courts.”

On October 9th Romney said to the Des Moines Register:

There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.”

The very next day, October 10th, Romney said:

I’m a pro-life candidate. I’ll be a pro-life president. The actions I’ll take immediately are to remove funding for Planned Parenthood. It will not be part of my budget. And also I’ve indicated I’ll reverse the Mexico City position of the president. I will reinstate the Mexico City policy.”

On October 16th Romney releases a TV ad pandering to pro-choice voters:

You know, those ads saying Mitt Romney would ban all abortions and contraception seemed a bit extreme… Turns out, Romney doesn’t oppose contraception at all. In fact, he thinks abortion should be an option in cases of rape, incest or to save a mother’s life.”

That’s five total statements regarding abortion over the span of five weeks and only two of them are consistent with a pro-life position. That means his pro-abortion statements outweigh his anti-abortion statements. His two good statements aren’t even unique to the pro-life movement! Certainly, taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to fund abortions and Roe v. Wade should be overturned. But these ideals could just as well be uttered by a pro-choice constitutionalist. So, how should we interpret all of this?

Romney’s stated views are not exclusively pro-life and he can’t offer us a constitutional argument. He defers all responsibility to the Supreme Court, ignoring that the Constitution gives Congress the power to strip jurisdiction from federal courts. A pro-life president could push Congress to pass personhood legislation, effectively overturning Roe v. Wade. But not Romney. There’s no abortion legislation on his agenda, remember? The Supreme Court will have to make their own decision, remember? Romney wants abortion to be legal, remember? He alluded to abortion being a valid form of contraception, remember? It makes one wonder what’s left for Romney to be “pro-life” about.

There may have been legitimate reasons to vote for Romney last week. Unfortunately, pro-life activism wasn’t one of them.

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6 thoughts on “Romney’s Loss: The Abortion Factor

  1. Check the polls. America is now heavily pro-choice. Loudly proclaiming that you are pro life is a great tactic for losing national elections.

    • agmcintosh on said:

      N, loudly proclaiming you are pro-life without moral and scientific explanation is a great tactic for losing elections. The GOP and the pro-life movement in general needs to start promoting candidates that can articulate the personhood of the fetus in a logical, respectable manner. But that doesn’t mean we simply give up the fight. If the majority of America was heavily pro-slavery, or pro-eugenics, or pro-any heinous act imaginable, would you also suggest that candidates shouldn’t stand up against them? That’s a wild notion and one that will ultimately lead to defeat.

  2. If a candidate wanted to merely sound pro-life without ever winning election or influencing national policy, then yes, go proclaim your orthodox and unpopular views regarding cases of rape and incest. If you intend to actually win elections and effect actual change, adopt a different tactic. Behave like Romney. Anything better is wildly unpopular.

    • agmcintosh on said:

      N, certainly a presidential candidate should try to gain as many voters as possible over a broad range of topics. However, this doesn’t mean you compromise your principles or become more like your opponent just to win elections. People can tell when someone doesn’t have a backbone and who isn’t guided by biblical morality. People see through that type of hypocrisy. Regardless of his view (pro-choice or pro-life), Romney should have stuck to one position. Trying to have his cake and eat it, too lost all credibility for him. If Romney’s strategy was the correct one, as you suggest, then why didn’t it work? We expect pro-choice candidates from the Democrats; Obama is open and honest about his view. But why would anyone want to vote for the guy who is openly dishonest about his view?

  3. N, what you want us to take away from your comment is unclear to me, especially since you have outlined two categories and placed Romney in the latter while he is (based upon this post and, more significantly, on the election results) in the former.
    Incidentally, I briefly considered naming my child simply “Z”; I’m wondering, have you had to face any extra challenges because of your monoliteral Christening?

  4. Pingback: Champion of the Unborn « Kuyperian Commentary

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