Mitt Romney Allegedly Mischaracterized His Mother’s Position On Abortion

Before converting to his present anti-choice position in 2005, Mitt Romney touted his mother’s strong choice credentials as proof of his own commitment to preserving women’s access to abortion. “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country; I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a U.S. Senate candidate,” Romney said during his bid for the Senate in 1994. He reiterated the comparison in 2002: “There was a woman who was running for political office, U.S. Senate. She took a very bold and courageous stand in 1970, and that was in a conservative state. That was that a woman should have the right to make her own choice as to whether or not to have an abortion. Her name was Lenore Romney, she was my mom. Even though she lost, she established a record of courage in that regard.” Watch the remarks starting at 2:40:

Since Romney publicly changed his stance on abortion before running for president in 2008, several reporters have questioned the story and Lenore’s alleged commitment on the issue. Now, Salon’s Justin Elliot discovers that a new biography The Real Romney “provides evidence that Mitt Romney has repeatedly mischaracterized his mother’s position on abortion rights“:

“The Real Romney” authors Michael Kranish and Scott Helman found a May 1970 story from a Owosso, Michigan, newspaper in which Lenore Romney says of the abortion issue:

“I think we need to reevaluate this, but do not feel it is simple as having an appendectomy. … I’m so tired of hearing the argument that a woman should have the final word on what happens to her own body. This is a life.”

As Elliott concludes, “If anything that statement — with its emphasis on women not having the final word — would most accurately be characterized as anti-choice. The irony is that Mitt Romney is now arguably closer to his mother’s actual 1970 position than he was when he ran as a pro-choice Senate candidate in 1994.”