Romney, Kennedy Backers Rally
The Massachusetts Senate contest arrived in the Yard yesterday with simultaneous demonstrations, one in support of Democratic Senator Edward M. Kennedy '54-'56 and one for challenger W. Mitt Romney.
Twenty-eight people attended a Kennedy rally in Lehman Hall held by the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL). Outside University Hall, about 14 people participated in a stand-in to support Republican candidate W. Mitt Romney.
Three members of the Harvard Democratic Club stood near the Romney counter-protesters, carrying pro-Kennedy signs.
NARAL president Kate Michelman said candidates who vote for pro-choice legislation are in danger of being ousted from Congress.
"We are in trouble out there," Michelman said.
She charged that many candidates who say they are pro-choice are actually not sympathetic to legalized abortion.
If Kennedy loses, it will be a huge blow to the pro-choice movement, Michelman said. Kennedy was "fighting for abortion rights before it was popular," she said.
Michelman charged that Romney, who is running on a pro-choice platform, "will vote anti-choice."
Romney's campaign office, however, disputed that in a statement released yesterday.
"Mitt has said from the beginning that as U.S. Senator he'd vote to sustain a woman's right to choose," said Massachusetts Secretary of Economic Affairs Gloria Larson, who was quoted in the statement.
But Romney has not rejected the endorsement of the Massachusetts Citizens for Life, Michelman said, and he has not endorsed the Freedom of Choice Act.
Citing two letters written by Kennedy, the Romney statement also said that Kennedy has not always been a consistent supporter of legalized abortion.
According to the statement, in one letter sent to the National Right to Life Committee on October 5, 1979, Kennedy wrote, "I am opposed to abortion on demand whether it is to be paid for by private funds or public funds--whether the woman is rich or poor."