Speaking outside a Christian adoption agency in Greenville, Romney also said he wants to make the adoption tax credit permanent. He noted that the tax credit was doubled at President Bush's urging several years ago and the additional benefit will expire if Congress doesn't act.
And, the former Massachusetts governor said he wants to broaden the ability of states to use federal funds to encourage the adoption of foster children. By allowing the federal money be spent only on foster care, the government may "create a reverse incentive" for states not to actively promote the adoption of children in its care, he said.
Romney said he wanted to tour the Greenville agency, which handles more than 50 adoptions annually, because November is national adoption month. He thanked two dozen parents and employees, many carrying adopted children, who gathered around him.
"Lives have been touched," he said. "These people are doing God's work, there's no question in my mind."
Adoption tax credit incentive
The $11,000 adoption tax credit can help offset the expense of an adoption, which can range between $15,000 and $35,000 for a child from another country and between $8,000 and $27,000 for an American child, said Laura Beauvais-Godwin, director and founder of Carolina Hope Adoption Agency.
Also Tuesday, Romney received the endorsement of state Sen. Kevin Bryant, who was backing Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback until he dropped out of the presidential race. Bryant sponsored a bill in the South Carolina Legislature this year that would require that would-be mothers view an ultrasound image before getting an abortion.
Differing versions passed the House and Senate, but the legislative session ended without a compromise. Proponents argued the measure would cause fewer women to get abortions, opting instead to keep the child or choose adoption. Critics said it's a way of intimidating women who have already made an agonizing decision.
Romney's change to pro-life
It's a "good idea for birth mothers to be given information such as the kind put forward by Sen. Bryant. I think it's a good idea for moms to be able to see the development of their child," Romney said. "I think it will tend to encourage adoption where they were considering abortion as the other alternative."
Romney was an abortion rights supporter during his 2002 race for governor and an unsuccessful U.S. Senate bid in 1994. He has said he changed his mind on abortion after reflecting on a November 2004 meeting with a Harvard stem cell researcher, and now considers himself "pro-life."
The latest Winthrop University/ETV Poll showed Romney in a statistical tie with Republican rivals Fred Thompson and Rudy Giuliani in South Carolina, an early voting state where many had believed his Mormon faith would hurt him.
Romney ended the day campaigning in front of more than 100 people at a deli in Anderson before eating some chili at a nearby festival.
He talked about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, saying the New York senator's idea of change isn't good for America.
"I think she would bring change, just not the kind you want," Romney said.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.