Romney says he's pro-life despite GOP doubts

Republicans distrust Romney because he changed his views on abortion before and they're worried he'll change them again.
CBS News

Most recently in the GOP race for the presidency, issues of birth control, prenatal testing and abortion have come up in the campaign. CBS News correspondent Jan Crawford explores what candidate Mitt Romney's views are on those issues.

Republicans who say they're afraid Romney isn't a true conservative always point to social issues. They say they distrust him because he's changed his views -- especially on abortion -- and they worry he's going to change them again.

At a town hall in Michigan on Tuesday, Romney talked about the economy, but a voter turned the conversation to social issues.

"I just want to hear you say that you are 100 percent pro-life, meaning embryonic stem cell research, 100 percent pro-life, no abortions," asked the voter.

Romney's response was swift: "I'm pro-life. I'm in favor of protecting the sanctity of life. I will cut off funding to Planned Parenthood."

Romney says he opposes abortions except in cases of rape, incest or if the mother's life is in danger. But questions remain for some voters, because when Romney ran in 2002 for Massachusetts governor, he supported a woman's right to an abortion.

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He said he changed his mind two years later, after a debate over embryonic stem cell research that convinced him abortion rights diminished the value of life.

"During my time in office, I stood up to those who wanted to call into question the very definition of life," Romney said on Feb. 10.

Romney also has taken a hard line against a rule by the Obama administration that would require Catholic hospitals and other religious-affiliated institutions to provide employees with contraception as part of their insurance.

"Think of what that does to people in faiths that do not share those views," Romney had told a crowd. "This is a violation of conscience."

On the issue of prenatal testing like amniocentesis, Romney has a different view than Santorum. Romney believes women should have the right to that testing so they can know and get that health information about the child they're carrying.

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    Jan Crawford is CBS News Chief Political and Legal Correspondent. She is from "Crossroads," Alabama.