DUBUQUE, Iowa -- Mitt Romney’s stance on abortion is being called into question a week out from the Iowa caucuses.
Republicans in Iowa received a text message to their cell phones very early Tuesday morning questioning Romney's anti-abortion credentials.
“Romney exposed at 2012 caucuses. Romney pro life??” the text one Iowan received at 4:00 am CST reads.
Upon calling the 515 area-code number the text message lists, an automated message on the other end includes hearing Romney’s answer during a debate when he ran for U.S. Senate 17 years ago.
“Mitt Romney on life,” an unidentified man’s voice says as the automated message begins.
“As a nation, we recognize the right of all people to believe as they want and not to impose our beliefs on other people,” Romney’s voice is heard saying next –- this comes from an Oct. 25, 1994 Massachusetts senate debate.
“I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country,” Romney continues. “I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a U.S. Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years that we should sustain and support it. And I sustain and support that law and the right of a women to make that choice.”
In 2005, Romney changed his position from supporting abortion rights to opposing them.
Neither the text message nor the automated message gives any indication who sent or paid for the messages.
The abortion issue plays very big with conservatives in Iowa. 2008 Iowa caucus winner, Mike Huckabee, even held a forum and movie premiere in Des Moines this month focusing on abortion. Romney did not attend, although Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Perry did.
Here is video from C-Span from that '94 Massachusetts Senate debate where the response from Romney originates.
*** UPDATE *** Per NBC's Michelle Perry, Romney Communications Director Gail Gitcho responded on MSNBC's "Andrea Mitchell Reports" to these text messages questioning Romney's abortion stance.
Gitcho said abortion is the one substantial issue he has admitted he has changed his position. He is now pro-life, she said -- not something he is going to change his position on.