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The Mormon Stance On Abortion: How It Differs From Romney's

Dawn Megli |
August 23, 2012 | 9:25 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

The Mormon church offers a religious view on abortion but maintains political neutrality. (Courtesy Creative Commons)
The Mormon church offers a religious view on abortion but maintains political neutrality. (Courtesy Creative Commons)
Todd Akin’s unfortunate remarks regarding “legitimate rape” caused a political firestorm over GOP positions on abortion. But while Paul Ryan, a devout Catholic, has a far-right stance similar to Akin, Romney’s Mormon faith espouses a slightly more moderate, though still conservative view on abortion. 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' website counsels adherent members to oppose “elective abortion for personal or social convenience” but allows for abortion under special circumstances.

The LDS church specified the conditions for which abortion is allowed:

Pregnancy results from rape or incest, or

 A competent physician determines that the life or health of the mother is in serious jeopardy, or

A competent physician determines that the fetus has severe defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth.

The church has warned that even these exceptions do not automatically justify ending a pregnancy, and women should only opt for the procedure after consulting church leaders.

While the church spells out its religious position on abortion, the website is adamant that the church has not favored or endorsed any legislative proposals on abortion. It has not endorsed any candidate, either.

Mitt Romney’s voting record on abortion has differed from the official stance of his Mormon faith. Romney ran as a pro-choice candidate in his 1994 Senate race against Ted Kennedy. He said he supported Roe v. Wade, somewhat similar to the position his mother, Lenore Romney, took on the issue during her 1970 Senate run.

"I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country,” Romney said in a televised debate. 



Romney espoused the same pro-choice stance during his 2002 bid for governor of Massachusetts. He promised to “preserve and protect a woman's right to choose.”



The GOP candidate jumped the fence into the pro-life camp in 2004 after meeting with a Harvard stem cell researcher, according to Politifact. Romney explained to Bill O’Reilly that his change of heart occurred during his gubernatorial tenure because he felt conflicted over signing a bill on embryonic cloning.



The latest iteration of Romney’s abortion views has been his most conservative to date. He authored his “Pro-life Pledge” in the National Review in 2011. His campaign website calls for the repeal of Roe v. Wade and asserts that life begins at conception.  

Pro-life voters have viewed Romney’s conversion with suspicion, however. Naming Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate gives the campaign credibility with the anti-abortion electorate, according to ProPublica. Ryan co-sponsored the Personhood Amendment and the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act."

Obama’s reelection campaign has seized on Ryan’s record on abortion and released an ad asserting Ryan’s position does not include exemptions for victims of rape or incest. 



The official GOP party platform includes language for a human life amendment to the Constitution and extending 14th Amendment protections to the unborn but does not include exemptions for rape, according to CNN.

After the Akin debacle, the Romney-Ryan ticket issued statements confirming their support for abortion in the case of rape or incest. 


Follow Neon Tommy's coverage of the abortion debate.

Reach Staff Reporter Dawn Megli here



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