Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has had an epiphany on abortion -- not once, but twice.
The first time was when Romney was a young man in the 1960s and his brother-in-law's sister -- an engaged-to-be-married teen who became pregnant -- died in a botched illegal abortion.
Roughly three decades later, while campaigning for the Senate in 1994, Romney described that tragedy as the event that triggered his conclusion that regardless of personal beliefs, abortion should be safe and legal.
Yeah, legal equals safe. Yup. Yup.
Romney says his moment of illumination about the immorality of abortion came two years ago during a meeting with an embryonic stem cell researcher.
"The comment was made that this really wasn't a moral issue, because the embryos were terminated or destroyed at 14 days," Romney said during a recent campaign stop in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, in a reprise of other recent explanations of his thinking on abortion.
"And it struck me very powerfully at that point, that the Roe v. Wade approach has so cheapened the value of human life that someone could think it's not a moral issue to destroy embryos that have been created solely for the purpose of research, and I said to my chief of staff, and that's been 2 1/2 years ago, I said to her, 'I want to make it very clear that I'm pro-life.'"
I collect conversion stories, so of course this is interesting to me. But my obsession with abortion mortality makes me zoom in on the death of the woman.
Romney later identified the relative as the teenage sister of his brother-in-law, Loren "Larry" Keenan.
So now I have my research cut out for me. Searching for "Keenan abortion" is fruitless, since a Nancy Keenan is the president of NARAL and she pretty much pushes anything else out of the search engines.
Romey doesn't say much that would allow anybody to verify the story. I'll try emails to his exploratory committee, but like other "I'm prochoice because of somebody I knew who died from an illegal abortion", I'm betting that this one isn't going to pan out with anything verifiable.