Reagan sought Goldwater's endorsement - which at that time still carried weight - to put him over the top.
Goldwater refused, despite the fact that Reagan championed all the ideas and causes that the allegedly conservative Goldwater supported, and despite the fact that Ford was a squishy, big-government Beltway insider.
Because Ford was an enthusiastic supporter of abortion on demand, just like Goldwater.
I’m still researching..
But it looks like (to me...jmho) that he waivered on abortion toward the last part of his career. I haven’t found where he was a staunch supporter of abortion on demand though.