Romney abortion comment draws Democratic criticism
October 10th, 2012
12:25 AM ET
2 years ago

Romney abortion comment draws Democratic criticism

(CNN) – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said in an interview on Tuesday that he has no abortion-related legislation on his platform but that he would reinstate a policy banning nongovernmental organizations from using federal funds to provide abortions.

"There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda," Romney said in an interview with The Des Moines Register.

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"One thing I would change, however, which would be done by executive order, not by legislation, is that I'd reinstate the Mexico City policy which is that foreign aid dollars from the US would not be used to carry out abortion in other countries," he continued.

The policy has generally been implemented by Republican administrations and dropped by Democratic presidents. President Barack Obama rescinded it shortly after taking office in 2009.

Obama's campaign quickly accused Romney of "playing politics" with abortion as it continues to try to question his convictions on issues that helped him earn the Republican nomination but have shifted more to the center in the general election campaign.

After Romney's remarks were published online, Romney's campaign spokeswoman reiterated that he is opposed to abortion.

"Mitt Romney is proudly pro-life, and he will be a pro-life president," Andrea Saul said in a statement.

Earlier Tuesday, the conservative site National Review Online published a different statement from Saul: "Governor Romney would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life."

Obama's campaign said Romney's "statement contradicts his pledge to appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade," the 1972 U.S. Supreme Court decision affirming a woman's right to have an abortion.

The Democratic National Committee pointed reporters to a June 2011 opinion piece published in the National Review Online in which the candidate identifies a piece of legislation for which he would advocate as president.

"I will advocate for and support a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion," Romney wrote in the piece, headlined "My Pro-Life Pledge."

In that piece, Romney also expressed his support for overturning Roe v. Wade, disavowing federal funds from being spent on abortions, and said he would nominate judges in line with his views.

Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said in a statement, that "women simply can't trust (Romney)."

"It's troubling that Mitt Romney is so willing to play politics with such important issues. But we know the truth about where he stands on a woman's right to choose – he's said he'd be delighted to sign a bill banning all abortions, and called Roe v. Wade 'one of the darkest moments in Supreme Court history' while pledging to appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn it," she said.

Romney has said that he would nominate for any Supreme Court vacancies candidates who would support overturning Roe v. Wade.

In campaign appearances and on his website, Romney has said he would "end federal funding for abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood" and specifically expressed his support for the Hyde Amendment, a 1976 measure which bans federal monies appropriated to the Health and Human Services Department from being used to fund abortions.

The candidate has been criticized for changing positions on the issue of abortion, dating back to his run for governor of Massachusetts.

"With regards to abortion, I changed my mind. With regards to abortion, I had the experience of coming in to office, running for governor, saying, you know, I'm going to keep the laws as they exist in the state," Romney said at a debate in Iowa on December 15.

"And they were pro-choice laws, so effectively I was pro-choice. Then I had a bill come to my desk that didn't just keep the laws as they were, but would have created new embryos for the purpose of destroying them. I studied it in some depth and concluded I simply could not sign on to take human life. I vetoed that bill."
Romney explained that he wrote an op-ed in The Boston Globe explaining his personal opposition to abortion.

The Republican candidate has this cycle expressed his opposition to abortion, with the exception of cases of rape.

Rape is not an exception in the Republican Party platform adopted in Tampa this summer, nor was it an exception Rep. Paul Ryan – who in August joined Romney's ticket – supported, though Ryan said he supports Romney's position on the issue.

The issue of abortion was briefly in the spotlight earlier this year when Rep. Todd Akin, a Missouri Republican seeking to unseat Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, made controversial comments about "legitimate rape."

He claimed in a television interview that "legitimate rape" rarely resulted in pregnancy, saying that "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."

Romney distanced himself from those comments and called for Akin to exit the race.


Filed under: 2012 • Abortion • Mitt Romney
soundoff (1,031 Responses)
  1. John

    Being against abortion personally and making it illegal by law are two different things......one ironic "factoid" is......

    The GOP wants to make abortion illegal in all circumstances including rape, incest, and life of the mother in danger (platform)
    ABORTION occurs because the mother/prospective parent(s) do not WANT the child
    UNWANTED children are the most likely to wind up on Welfare, Government assistance or in jail
    GOP wants to cut back on Welfare, Government assistance, and prison costs
    If GOP platform is put into law, taxpayer costs for Welfare, Government assistance, and Prisons will SKYROCKET.....
    This is not including the huge new cost of the BEDROOM police that will invade womens privacy to consider arrest.
    IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT OUT OF YOUR GOVERNMENT?

    October 10, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  2. Henry

    Can the real Mitt Romney raise his hand?

    October 10, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  3. Norma Williams

    There Mitt goes again! He has so many different personalities depending on who's interviewing and which crowd he's addressing. Talk about D.I.D.! He'd be GOLD to the Soap Opera industry! Talk about the plot lines around this guy! Will GH, Y&R, Bold & the Beautiful or Days pick him? I hope so. Or how about a new soap - The Many Lies, I mean, Lives of Mitt! I'd tune in to watch!

    October 10, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  4. rma

    The best description of Romney: he is a shameless, lying chameleon. Pretty much sums it up.

    October 10, 2012 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  5. Ethics Board

    Life starts with a single cell that can differentiate, so if you cut or scrape your skin, those lost epithelial cells and fibroblasts have lost their ability to differentiate into other cell types.... ie scraping your skin is abortion.

    October 10, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  6. GFreeman

    What the Republicans have discovered over the last 10 years is that the TRUTH is irrelevant.
    The message is all that counts, not whether it is true or false. The message is pure FICTION and there are no lies in fiction. They have also rediscovered the age old principle of the "The Big Lie". Repeat something often enough and people will believe it even if it is totally made up. This is especially true if you get others (Fox News) to endlessly repeat your message. And finally if you are caught, accuse your opponent of doing the very thing you are doing while at same time denying your actions. [this is what Mitt did during the debate with Obama]. If that fails just say everyone lies, that is the nature of political speech.

    This last thought "everyone lies" has the insidious effect of discouraging the casual voters from voting and letting the base determine the outcome of the election.

    October 10, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
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