Romney’s positions on abortion have run the gamut since a 1994 Senate race against then Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) .
“I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a U.S. Senate candidate,” he said in a 1994 debate. “I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for twenty years that we should sustain and support it. And I sustain and support that law and the right of a woman to make that choice.”
That same year, in an interview with The Boston Herald, Romney said:
“[Roe v. Wade] has been the law of the land for over 20 years, and I do not want to change it, overturn it, reverse it,” he said. “I want it to remain the law of the land.”
Romney later changed his position, saying he would support the reversal of Roe v. Wade, “because it is bad law and bad medicine,” in a 2011 interview with the National Review.
Deace said Romney’s changing positions could hurt him among social conservatives, particularly in Iowa.
“You don’t see Obama looking for ways to spit in the eye of his own base,” Deace said. “You don’t have to offend that many people to affect the outcome. I hope Democrats push him on this. I hope Obama presses this issue because people deserve to know. This is a fundamental issue.”
But other conservatives continued to express support for Romney.
“Romney is on record on the issues socially conservative voters care about: Obamacare, religious liberty, unborn life, and marriage. The contrast between him and Obama on those issues could not be starker,” said Ralph Reed, who heads the Faith and Freedom Coalition. “The election is largely about jobs, the economy, and health care, and we recommend that candidates focus on those issues. But when social issues come up — and they always do — Romney needs to be clear about where he stands and lean into it.”