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 President Barack Obama rescinded it shortly after taking office in 2009.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. MTATL67

    Stark reminder of a Romneys support for Republicans war on women and no one debate win can wipe it away.

    October 10, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  2. Nathan

    Women, do you really want a Romney White House with a Republican House and a conservative court. Abortion would be the least of your problems.

    October 10, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  3. Bobby

    Here you go again CNN...STOP IT STOP IT..You've been come worse than MSNBC..You should be ashamed

    October 10, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  4. Dan5404

    A typical flip-flop on the issue, pandering to the ultra-right controllers of the GOP.

    October 10, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  5. High Way

    I can't believe that voters would go for Mitt that hides his true agenda. If he wins we as Americans deserve what we get. Very sad for the ignorance that prevail in most people and the consequences it causes.

    October 10, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  6. sam2777

    No one really knows what Romney stands for or what he really believes. He just play both of sides of the fence and hopes no one notices. He says he's "severly conservative" one day and moves to the middle on policy a day later....he says whatever it is he thinks you want to hear.

    October 10, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  7. ga.democrat

    Romney cannot be trusted America. Time to wake up and vote against this man who stands for nothing.

    October 10, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  8. Truth

    Oh blah blah, Romney said this, Romney said that.
    What is the biggest issue in America, today?
    Well, I'd say there's two of them. #1: the economy. #2: violent blacks.
    Who is better qualified to handle these issues, a wealthy, business-experienced human White man, or a kenyan muslim monkey?
    The choice is blatantly obvious.

    October 10, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  9. Alicia

    I don't understand how people can vote for such a vapid man. You're 65 years old there is no way you can change your mind every other day on such important issues unless you're just saying whatever it takes to be president.

    October 10, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  10. RealPolitics

    Tick, Tock! Tick, Tock! Romney has a poll gap with women and Hispanics, will he lighten his message to get some votes less than a month before the election? Come on Mitt, flip-flop for us again or better yet come back to the middle so you can piss the conservatives off. You never really had the conservatives vote anyway.

    October 10, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  11. G Smith

    Romney is a consistent flip flopper...He is truly an example of the end justifies the means...

    In short...Romney lies!...If elected, we will have a liar in chief!

    October 10, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  12. wake up america

    Romney is the atypical born to privlidge, draft dodging, chicken hawk who would not talk so tough if his five sons enlisted in the army. Seriously folks do you really want a new war in Iran with Romney? Didnt we have enough of a disaster with Bush, who was another born to privlidge, draft dodging chicken hawk, That imbecile sent 4500 US soldiers to their deaths in Iraq with Romney as his biggest cheerleader. Enough Already. WAKE UP AMERICA!!!

    October 10, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  13. simp

    CNN just because wolf had an interview with the lying mitt does this whole ticker have to be about it and mitt? Dang this is so bias it's nasuating. This whole section is about mitt and the different topic he and wolf talked about hell those that wanted to see it could have yesterday. CNN the usual joke new station

    October 10, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  14. Republican Class Warfare

    One good debate and the whole country forgets what a lying scumbag Romney is. Good going, America: we deserve what we get. Although I don't believe I deserve to die in Iran, it will probably happen if you people vote for this man.

    October 10, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  15. tonylkh

    The most disgusting politician I've ever seen.

    October 10, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  16. Justin

    Romney may shift his position and become pro-choice if he attains presidency

    October 10, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  17. Mr Gerald

    Romney act like nigerian former military leader obasanjo.He changes in every bit of second.

    October 10, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  18. Coop

    Wow. Romney changes his mind again.

    Shocking...

    October 10, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  19. seeingitself

    What a total scumbag...& his latest statement trying to convince the "47%" – that he said he doesn't give a damn about – that he was "completely wrong"...Come on Mitt, you really think anybody buys that you didn't mean that statement? Come on... Who would trust this liar? Mr. Romney you sicken me, you have shown your true colors – you'll say anything to try to get elected & you are just in this race to keep the wealthy wealthy & everyone else be damned.

    October 10, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  20. seeingitself

    What a total scumbag...& his latest statement trying to convince the "47%" – that he said he doesn't give a damn about – that he was "completely wrong"...You really think anybody buys that you didn't mean that statement? Come on... Who would trust this liar? Mr. Romney you sicken me, you have shown your true colors – you'll say anything to try to get elected & you are just in this race to keep the wealthy wealthy & everyone else be damned.

    October 10, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  21. Winston Sardine

    How can any intelligent American voter trust what comes out of Mr. Romney's mouth ? If this is the character of the person you want as your President then go for it in November . Here in Canada & I suspect across the rest of the worldpeople are astonished at the out-right lies, distortions & twisting of facts by this man & his Republican supporters in their desperate effort to steal the election & wring further misery out of the Middle Class & the bottom 99% of those in the U.S.A. I personally believe the American voter is too bright & aware to allow this potential tragedy from occuring .

    October 10, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  22. Dea

    My vote is for OBAMA I do not trust that Romney has my best interests in mind. I am a woman And I live in Ohio. OBAMA 2012!

    October 10, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  23. C Anderson

    This man (Romney) is a lying disgrace, he will say anything. He has no integrity. Integrity & trust are the corner stone of leadership. What a creep, what a creep

    October 10, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  24. Name chris nnadede

    Governor Romney would say anything to become President

    October 10, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  25. Joanna

    Master candidate of flip-flopping.

    October 10, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
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