July 26, 2005


Romney vetoes law on pill, takes aim at Roe v. Wade: Opinion article reflects a shift from '02 view (Scott S. Greenberger, July 26, 2005, Boston Globe)

Three years after expressing support for ''the substance" of Roe v. Wade, Governor Mitt Romney today criticizes the landmark ruling that legalized abortion and says the states should decide separately whether to allow it.

Romney outlines his abortion position in an opinion article today in The Boston Globe, a day after he vetoed a bill that would expand access to the so-called ''morning after" pill, a high dose of hormones that women can take to prevent pregnancy up to five days after sex.

In a written response to a questionnaire for candidates in 2002, Romney told Planned Parenthood that he supported ''the substance of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade," according to the group. Today, Romney describes himself as a ''pro-life governor" who wishes ''the laws of our nation could reflect that view." Calling the country ''divided over abortion," he says states ''should determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate."

Why I vetoed contraception bill (Mitt Romney, July 26, 2005, Boston Globe)
YESTERDAY I vetoed a bill that the Legislature forwarded to my desk. Though described by its sponsors as a measure relating to contraception, there is more to it than that. The bill does not involve only the prevention of conception: The drug it authorizes would also terminate life after conception.

Signing such a measure into law would violate the promise I made to the citizens of Massachusetts when I ran for governor. I pledged that I would not change our abortion laws either to restrict abortion or to facilitate it. What's more, this particular bill does not require parental consent even for young teenagers. It disregards not only the seriousness of abortion but the importance of parental involvement and so would weaken a protection I am committed to uphold.

I have spoken with medical professionals to determine whether the drug contemplated under the bill would simply prevent conception or whether it would also terminate a living embryo after conception. Once it became clear that the latter was the case, my decision was straightforward. I will honor the commitment I made during my campaign: While I do not favor abortion, I will not change the state's abortion laws.

I understand that my views on laws governing abortion set me in the minority in our Commonwealth. I am prolife. I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother. I wish the people of America agreed, and that the laws of our nation could reflect that view. But while the nation remains so divided over abortion, I believe that the states, through the democratic process, should determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate.

Because Massachusetts is decidedly prochoice, I have respected the state's democratically held view. I have not attempted to impose my own views on the prochoice majority.

For all the conflicting views on this issue, it speaks well of our country that we recognize abortion as a problem. The law may call it a right, but no one ever called it a good, and, in the quiet of conscience people of both political parties know that more than a million abortions a year cannot be squared with the good heart of America.

You can't be a prolife governor in a prochoice state without understanding that there are heartfelt and thoughtful arguments on both sides of the question. Many women considering abortions face terrible pressures, hurts, and fears; we should come to their aid with all the resourcefulness and empathy we can offer. At the same time, the starting point should be the innocence and vulnerability of the child waiting to be born.

In some respects, these convictions have evolved and deepened during my time as governor. In considering the issue of embryo cloning and embryo farming, I saw where the harsh logic of abortion can lead -- to the view of innocent new life as nothing more than research material or a commodity to be exploited.

He needs to run for re-election and help to reshape the consensus or show that it's closer to his view than people realize.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 26, 2005 9:39 AM

Everything I read about unwanted pregnancy seems to take the view that it's a freak accident or some kind of sucker punch to a woman. A lot of "choices" go into making that freak accident happen and it's high time people started talking about that.

Posted by: nkr at July 26, 2005 10:58 AM

IIRC, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute (a pro-abort think tank), most abortions are performed at the insistence of the male involved, and a plurality (if not majority) of the teen girls having them are impregnated by men who are much older than them. Abortion is not about "a woman's right to choose," it's about a male's right to enjoy sexual access to women while evading responsibility.

Posted by: Mike Morley at July 26, 2005 11:23 AM


Are you trying to say that people are idiots and don't understand the responsibilities that ensue from their actions? Well, duh! There are Australian aborigines who believe that women get pregnant from walking past a type of tree. Modern Americans often behave as if they do not have a much more nuanced understanding of the matter.


It's simple. Just don't have unprotected sex.

Posted by: bart at July 26, 2005 11:46 AM

bart: With the exception of celibacy,* all methods of contraception are imperfect. Even when a man and woman are having "protected" sex, there is a possibility that conception will result.

*There is one recorded instance of virgin birth, but it's something of a special case.

Posted by: Mike Morley at July 26, 2005 12:20 PM


An infinitesmal one, and if both partners are using protection, even smaller.(cf. The probability law concerning two independent events occuring simultaneously) Risk analysis is my business, and I live my life accordingly.

Posted by: bart at July 26, 2005 12:38 PM

Failure rates for condoms are much higher during anal sex, which is why advocating their use as if they protected people is little better than murder.

Posted by: oj at July 26, 2005 4:11 PM

Re: "It's simple, just don't have unprotected sex"
1996 Brookings Institution policy brief called "An Analysis of Out-Of-Wedlock Births in the United States" by George A. Akerlof and Janet L. Yellen.:

"...The increased availability of contraception and abortion made shotgun weddings a thing of the past. Women who were willing to get an abortion or who reliably used contraception no longer found it necessary to condition sexual relations on a promise of marriage in the event of pregnancy. But women who wanted children, who did not want an abortion for moral or religious reasons, or who were unreliable in their use of contraception found themselves pressured to participate in premarital sexual relations without being able to exact a promise of marriage in case of pregnancy. These women feared, correctly, that if they refused sexual relations, they would risk losing their partners. Sexual activity without commitment was increasingly expected in premarital relationships...."

The lower down the social scale you go, the more premarital sex has become an obligation rather than a choice. As a former inner city social worker wrote:

"The authors of the report follow the now-PC practice of talking about every female over the age of 11 as a "woman." translate to:
Fatherless teenage girls feared, correctly, that if they refused sexual relations, they would risk losing their boyfriends, who may well represent the only steady source of male affection they have ever had in their young lives."

Is the picture starting to become clearer? We really arenít talking about rational post-Enlightenment adults making considered choices. We're talking about hurricane-strength social forces battering the most vulnerable members of the population."


Posted by: Emily B. at July 26, 2005 9:11 PM


If they're too stupid or too lazy or too easily influenced or too horny to make informed choices in a society where the necessary information is readily available, then it ain't my problem. The pathologies of the poor and the stupid should not be used to justify limits on the rights of the affluent and intelligent.

Posted by: bart at July 27, 2005 7:19 AM

"I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother."

I'll never understand this position. If you believe abortion to be murder, then how can you ever justify it?

Posted by: H. Ratliff at July 29, 2005 5:46 PM