Do Conversions Matter?

I’m one who tends to give the benefit of the doubt when a formerly pro-abortion Republican proclaims a pro-life conversion. I’ve seen it happen many times to the advantage of the party but most importantly, to the advantage of the unborn.

One needs to look no further than Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade) or Dr. Bernard Nathanson who once was the biggest abortionist in New York. Both underwent remarkable and miraculous pro-life conversions.

In the case of Mitt Romney, I think he’s seen the light although I’m still  cautiously optimistic.

Today, the Boston Herald printed a story and photo of Governor Romney and his wife in attendance at a Planned Parenthood event in 1994. Photos like this give me chills – not the winter-wind-on-the-back-of-your-neck type of chills but the staring-at-evil type of chills. (Planned Parenthood is the largest killer of babies in the United States.)

Nevertheless, the photo was taken in 1994 – almost 14 years ago – and that’s a lot of time for someone to figure out the sanctity of life is human rights principle.

I’m not going to post the photo here on Sonoran Alliance but rather just the link.

My question to all our readers is this: does a photo/story like this about a politician running for office really hurt his/her credibility on the life issue? Are you willing to give the former governor the benefit of the doubt? Does his pro-life conversion matter in 2008? Finally, in lining all the pro-life candidates up side by side, would you prefer someone with a longstanding history over someone newly converted?


  1. 14 years is not a long time in one’s political career, especially if you start counting when the person was already elected governor. If it was any other issue, maybe. But not abortion. Had he also converted from some other ism to being pro-life and Mormon, maybe voters could swallow that. But he’s have the perception that he’s not only a “cradle Mormon” who just goes along with the tradition, but a recently-converted Mormon who is just gung-ho. That won’t fly in the electorate. But I can’t see supporting someone who was pretty recently a total hypocrite. Unless the rest of the candidates are as well. DSW’s question is a good one, and I’ll always give the benefit of the doubt, but I don’t think we should all do it at the same time as there’s too much as stake.

  2. Of course conversions matter, the words that mean so much, “I once was lost, but now I am found, was blind but now I see” are the embodiment of the Christian conversion from a life of disbelief to the state of grace. What is it that brings such reversals? It is different for all but it is not anymore our right to discredit the words of one than it would be for our personal belief to be chided as insincere.

    This brings us back to a topic that raises itself in many different threads. The Big Tent and the idea that one issue is not the sole and solitary issue of our day. Reagan was a Dem, not so pro-life, and union member. He saw the light.

    I suggest it was not his stated conversion but the following actions that convinced the masses of his genuine heartfelt change.

    Do not judge Mitt as a presidential candidate on whether he was at one time a pro-choice supporter. Judge him on his achievements or lack of, his substantiation of his conversion in deed not just word, and his ability to bring what is needed to the position he seeks.

    My strong support for Fred Thompson is not unknown. Yet, I have rallied for Lisa James, the Giuliani chair when personally attacked and now defend Mitt. This is not because I have a a secret desire to see these candidates succeed. It is because we will choose the best candidate as our nominee when we look at the overall abilities not the disclaimers of each. By focusing on all the negatives, we may very well have a nominee with the fewest negative but no real positives beyond being a nice guy.

    I am sure if we look at overall strength on all issues and conservative practice as the template, Senator Thompson will prevail. I fear that if we don’t, the Dems will and will win.

  3. 14 years ago is too long to win any arguments on its own.

  4. It’s true that the incident cited is 14 years old. However, there are unquestionably statements and behaviors more recent than that which would indicate Romney held pro-choice views more recently.

    I’d find any conversion on his part far more convincing if the timing of it were not so convenient (if, for example, he had publicly avowed his change of stance early in his governorship).

    By the way, when the conversion” goes in teh other direction (i.e., long-time pro-life changes views to pro-choice), is it equally “miraculous”?

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