Romney’s Other Abortion Hurdle: RomneyCare

Sam Stein reports on another health care-related hurdle facing Mitt Romney as he campaigns for the GOP presidential nomination: his health reform law covers abortion services:

That Romney is already facing critical coverage on this front is entirely expected, given what he experienced the last time he ran for president. What seems different this time is the way in which he and his supporters are electing to push back. In 2008, the former governor chose to insist that his preference was for a federal approach: in which state governments outline their own abortion laws while he, as president, would seek to overturn Roe V. Wade.

This time around, defenders of the Massachusetts health care plan are basing their argument on policy grounds, insisting that Romney had no say over whether or not abortion ended up covered under the plan.

This may be true, but for conservative anti-choice activists, it won’t take the sting away from the fact that under RomneyCare, uninsured residents below 300 percent of the federal poverty level can participate in the state-subsidized Commonwealth Care program and receive a comprehensive package of benefits that includes “doctor’s visits, surgery, radiology and lab” and abortion services.


Despite all this — and his new-found opposition to abortion — Romney has described his law as the “ultimate pro-life effort,” pointing to the fact that expanding access to health coverage saves lives. “And perhaps the best thing I can say about it, it’s saving lives. It is the ultimate pro-life effort,” Romney told Fox News’ Chris Wallace in March of 2010. “[P]eople who otherwise could have lost their lives are now able to get the kind of care they deserve.” It’s a good argument, but it’s doubtful that the GOP’s conservative base will buy it.