The Conversion

Romney’s Abortion History: A Bibliography

The best reporting on Mitt Romney’s shifting views of abortion and embryo research.

Many journalists have interviewed Mitt Romney during his abortion transition or written about it afterward. A few have done it really well. Here’s the best reporting I found, organized by topic.

Ann Keenan:The abortion that Mitt doesn’t talk about anymore,” by Justin Elliott, Salon, Aug. 8, 2011. Elliott digs up everything that can be found about her: yearbook photo, gravestone, and her death notice, which ends, “Memorial tributes may be sent to the Planned Parenthood Association.”

Bishop Romney:For Romney, a Role of Faith and Authority,” by Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times, Oct. 15, 2011. “In Boston, Mitt Romney ‘evolved’ in Mormon leadership, some churchwomen say,” by Jason Horowitz, Washington Post, Nov. 21, 2011. “Romney, an active man of faith,” by Alana Semuels, Los Angeles Times, Dec. 7, 2011. Read all three.

The timeline:Romney and abortion,” by Editors, Sept. 21, 2007. The most complete chronology of what Romney said and when, through August 2007. Includes links to some key videos.

The Romneys and IVF: Mitt Romney: An Inside Look at the Man and His Politics, by Ronald B. Scott, Lyons Press, 2012. The IVF stuff is on pages 125-127. Scott also has the best information on the 1993 Wirthlin poll and Romney’s consultations with Mormon leaders. See pages 55-56.

The epiphany: Romney’s journey to the right,” by Scott Helman, Boston Globe, Dec. 17, 2006. Helman has Doug Melton disputing Romney’s account of the November 2004 meeting, plus information about three meetings Romney and his staff held afterward.

The cloning fight:Massachusetts Governor Opposes Stem Cell Work,” by Pam Belluck, The New York Times, Feb. 10, 2005. Belluck scooped the Massachusetts legislature, getting Romney to lay out his views against cloning even before Romney sent his letter to Senate President Travaglini.

Romney in transition:Romney Comments on Abortion” (audio),, Feb. 20, 2007. Dan Balz, David Broder, and Ruth Marcus conducted this interview with Romney on Feb. 28, 2005, capturing his thoughts and evasions during the awkward transition when he was taking pro-life hormones but hadn’t yet undergone pro-life reassignment surgery. The companion transcript, “Mitt Romney Interview Excerpts,” is helpful but has some errors.

Abortion and embryos:Stem Cell Debate on FNS” and “Mitt Romney on FNS” (transcripts), Chris Wallace, Fox News Sunday, May 22, 2005, and Feb. 27, 2006. Romney’s thinking about the relationship between abortion and embryo research was a mess. Wallace did a great job of pressing him on it.

Checkbook conservatism: In Romney’s Bid, His Wallet Opens to the Right,” by David Kirkpatrick, New York Times, March 11, 2007. Kirkpatrick breaks down the $100,000 Romney gave to Massachusetts Citizens for Life, the Massachusetts Family Institute, and other conservative organizations that later repaid him with praise and support.

What Romney really believes: Meet the Press (transcript), Tim Russert, Dec. 16, 2007. The toughest, longest, best grilling Romney ever endured on abortion and stem-cell research.

Related article: How, When, and Why Mitt Romney Changed His Mind on Abortion.