I won't provide more than just a brief opinion on this article, which is an interview Mitt Romney gave to the Associated Press.
In particular, I have to address the abortion issue. While I have blogged over at my personal page about his positions on abortion, I think some discussion is appropriate in this space. In fairness to my colleagues, let me again disclaim that my personal opinions about Romney are just that: personal. In no way do my thoughts about his candidacy reflect the opinions of my colleagues, nor should my opinions be construed as this blog endorsing his candidacy. Ready?
From the article:
States' rights also take precedence in the abortion debate for Romney, a conservative and a Mormon who's against abortion and would like to see the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling overturned. He said in an interview with The Associated Press that states should "fashion their own laws with regard to abortion. That's what I think the next step should be."
As I've said before, Romney is to the left of me on this issue, and for the record, I don't think abortion is an issue that can be permanently relegated to the states; to me, this is sort of a forfeit by federalism. Government at all levels is charged with protecting the inalienable rights of its citizens. There's just no way around that fact. Anyone who disagrees with that simply disagrees with the most important foundational tenet of our Republic, and that which truly makes us American.
There's a bit of pragmatic wisdom, though, in his approach, and it is notable that Romney called this "the next step." From a balanced government perspective, we can draw parallels to the abolition of slavery. Had that institution been universal among the states (at one time, early in our history, I think it had; and the New England states were the first to outlaw the practice), an excellent first step would have been allowing the states to "decide" if they would allow it. Practically speaking, this is what happened between the states with respect to slavery. Eventually, the sea change swept away that blot on our national history, and hundreds of thousands of Americans died to correct that wrongs that had been allowed for so long.
Every cause has milestones that can be seen clearly with the benefit of hindsight. I hope, while I yet think the long-term fight must be fought, that with an articulate and strong leader, we can get most Americans to agree that letting the states decide is a decent first step - understanding that first means many more steps would follow.