Voice Your Choice
Romney sidesteps question on abortion-ultrasound plan
LEXINGTON, S.C. -- Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Friday sidestepped questions about a South Carolina plan to require women seeking an abortion to view an ultrasound, a proposal one of his Republican rivals has embraced.
The former Massachusetts governor declined to offer his opinion of the state legislative measure.
"I would like to see each state be able to make its own law with regard to abortion," Romney said after a speech to about 50 small business leaders. "I think the Roe v. Wade one-size-fits-all approach is wrong."
South Carolina is an early voting state dominated by conservatives who oppose abortion rights, and the ultrasound requirement has generated an emotional debate in the state legislature.
Proponents argue women could change their minds about an abortion after seeing an ultrasound of the fetus. Critics contend the measure would intimidate women who already have made a difficult decision.
Another Republican candidate, Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, reaffirmed his support Thursday for the requirement as he campaigned in the state. South Carolina's Republican governor, Mark Sanford, also backs the plan.
The South Carolina state House approved a version of the bill requiring women to view the images. If that proposal were enacted, it would make South Carolina the only state with such a requirement. However, a state Senate panel this week removed that language, setting up a possible showdown between the two Republican-dominated chambers.
Critics have said Romney has reversed his position on abortion rights. He has sought to reassure social conservatives that he is a strong abortion foe.
Later Friday, Romney said he was glad to return to Charleston, where County GOP Chairwoman Cyndi Mosteller, a Baptist, grilled the candidate about his Mormon faith last year.
During remarks in Charleston, Romney also said radio personality Don Imus went too far when he called players on the Rutgers University women's basketball team "nappy headed hos" on his nationally syndicated radio show.
"What he said was awful and shocking and wrong," Romney said. "I think he's paid a heavy price."
Also Friday, Romney announced that Lt. Gen. Claudius "Bud" Elmer Watts III and Brig. Gen. Thomas R. Mikolajcik would serve as chairmen of a veterans coalition supporting Romney in South Carolina.
The announcement came one day after South Carolina Adjutant Gen. Stan Spears threw his support behind Arizona Sen. John McCain, announcing he would lead a similar veterans panel.
Romney's visit began a two-day swing through South Carolina. He plans to visit several county conventions, which his campaign has called key building blocks for the primary race here.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)