He was pro-choice for a long time. Possibly decades, after a close family friend died during a botched illegal abortion in Michigan. The first record of him being anti-choice is from 2006.
So here is what I've come to realize about Romney: much like McCain before him, I sort of like the guy when he is actually being sincere and talking about himself and his personal beliefs. It just happens too rarely and I doubt it will have any bearing on how he would govern. Like McCain before him, there was a point where Romney the man sacrifcied himself to become Romney the Candidate. Pretty much like a person dying to come back as a vampire: they have some cool new powers and strengths, but ultimately they are soul-less and have huge glaring weaknesses that can be exploited by a well-prepared foe.
Romney the man though? Look at him back in 1994 giving straight talk about his pro-choice stance. That takes guts. It cost him. But it was real.
I dare you to find me one moment on this campaign half as real as that.
Mitt Romney’s abortion record: flip-flop or conversion? - Slate Magazine
Romney’s family had its first, fatal brush with abortion in 1963. Romney was 16. His father was the governor of Michigan. Mitt’s sister was married to a young man with a 21-year-old sister who was pregnant. The pregnant young woman, Ann Keenan, desperately wanted an abortion. But abortion was illegal in Michigan. So Keenan tried an illegal abortion. She bled to death.
It’s unclear what Mitt Romney knew about this tragedy at the time. (Romney, his advisers, and his press office did not respond to emails, phone calls, or written questions for this article.) Though he would later recall Keenan as a “dear, close family relative that was very close to me,” the cause of Ann Keenan’s death was hidden from her friends, and Romney’s later descriptions of the episode leave open the possibility that he learned about the abortion later. But Romney’s mother, Lenore Romney, apparently knew the truth. It affected what she preached within the family and what she espoused as an unsuccessful candidate for the U.S. Senate in Michigan in 1970.
Like other moderates of her day, Lenore Romney didn’t believe in an absolute right to choose. During her campaign, she remarked, “I’m so tired of hearing the argument that a woman should have the final word on what happens to her own body. This is a life.” But Mrs. Romney did think current abortion laws were too restrictive. Her platform said: “I support and recognize the need for more liberal abortion rights while reaffirming the legal and medical measures needed to protect the unborn and pregnant woman.”
The Romneys were Mormons. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints taught that abortion was “like unto” murder but wasn’t quite the same thing. The church’s official Handbook forbids abortion for “personal or social convenience” but permits it in cases of rape, incest, health risks to the mother, or “severe defects” in the fetus. This was the general guidance Mitt Romney followed in 1981, when, at age 34, he became a Mormon bishop.