The HillTube

Romney promises Huckabee he would "protect human life" as president

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney worked to boost his social conservative credentials during an appearance on Mike Huckabee’s Fox News program on Saturday.

“I’d make sure the progress that’s been made to provide for life and to protect human life would not be progress that is reversed,” said Romney, responding to Huckabee's request for assurances that religious voters could trust him to be a "pro-life president."

Romney also pledged to appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court. “I’d make sure that justices that go to the Supreme Court are justices that have a conviction that their job is to follow the law and not to create the law from the bench,” he said.

He added that “the Supreme Court should reverse Roe vs. Wade and send back to the states the responsibility for deciding whether they are going to have abortion legal in their state or not.”

Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor and rival of Romney's during the 2008 Republican presidential primary, is an evangelical with influence among social conservative voters. He has yet to endorse a candidate in the 2012 race.

During the interview, Romney also defended his Massachusetts healthcare reform plan and drew distinctions between it and the president’s legislation which Romney opposes. Romney’s healthcare reforms as governor have drawn attacks from fellow GOP candidates.

“Our plan in Massachusetts was about caring for the 8 percent of our population that didn’t have insurance. For 92 percent of the people in my state nothing changed. The president’s plan is taking over healthcare for 100 percent of people. It’s changing healthcare in this country for everyone,” Romney explained to Huckabee.

“The bill works pretty well, not perfectly. If I were governor it would work better,” he said of his reforms.

Romney reiterated his position that he would seek to repeal the president’s health law if elected. “I will direct the secretary of Health and Human Services to grant a waiver for Obamacare to every single state,” he pledged.

Romney also denied social conservative claims that his health reform law funds abortions. “Our bill had no mention whatsoever of abortion,” Romney said, arguing that a provision that allows low-income mothers to obtain abortions was mandated by courts.

“This was something which existed even before our bill was passed. They said people who were receiving care that was in any way subsidized by government had the right to get abortion as part of that care. They said that was constitutionally required,” said Romney.

He insisted the only way for him to have circumvented that ruling as governor was by pushing a constitutional amendment that would have had little chance of passing Massachusetts’s Democrat-controlled state legislature.