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 President Barack Obama rescinded it shortly after taking office in 2009.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

    I am so sick of CNN and their attempts to make Romney out to be this evil man. I used to like coming on here, but I am finished reading crap. America is waking up and realizing how stupid CNN has become. I want facts, I hate your agenda and what you represent.

    October 10, 2012 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  2. Fair coverage?

    This article is as slanted as they come. Nice try cnn. Not sure why I keep coming back to a site that consistently attacks conservative candidates and offers virtually no critical analysis, independent thought, or criticism of the current administration. For shame.

    October 10, 2012 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  3. Name

    The idea that a woman should have to raise a child conceived as a result of a rape is monstrous! It could even be considered cruel and inhuman treatment. And who is being punishes the rapists or the victim?
    Somehow I don't believe that if this happened in Rmoney's or Lyin Ryan's family they would keep the child.
    This is so typical Rmoney just like sending other people's children to fight for the country.
    By the way where was Mittens during Vietnam? He was living it up in France criticizing those protesting against the war. How many of his sons are or were in the military? ZERO

    October 10, 2012 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  4. yola

    Romney is on a roll. America will be so very sorry if he is voted president... I have checked my crystal ball... and the prediction is that Romney's era will be so much worst than the Bush era... Remember America... I told you so!

    October 10, 2012 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  5. Chuck Hendrix

    In conclusion, for most of you "pro-lifers, it's all about money but you want to make others and yourself believe otherwise. Why not own what you? Anti-Abortionists. You are anything but "pro-life".

    October 10, 2012 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  6. Lost

    Flip-flops can sometimes cause callouses.

    October 10, 2012 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  7. Ms

    Romney wants it both ways. He wants you to hear whatever will get you to vote for him. If elected, Romney would be the first conmodlib pro-lifechoice President.

    October 10, 2012 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  8. Some ridiculous person

    I have to say, I at least respect the people who say no to abortion in cases of rape– at least they're not hypocrites. If you believe it's life, you should protect it no matter how it got there; no one would kill a 1 month old because the mother was raped to produce it and she finds she can't live with her choice to keep it. I think it's ridiculous to call a fertilized embryo a baby, but if that's your belief, defend it. The halfway house of abortion in cases of rape is a stance that can only make sense if you believe the embryo isn't really important or alive, but makes a great punishment for that immoral woman who had sex without marriage.

    October 10, 2012 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  9. jettsmom

    there he goes again backtracking liar liar pants on fire

    October 10, 2012 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  10. fernace

    Women have to have a right to choose what is right for ourselves, our bodies, our families & whether or not we want to put another child into this world that we may not be able to support or provide for! That is a personal & legal decision that must remain legal! All the pro-life rhetoric is just that! The question isn't about when life starts, but who will care for that life once it's born! That is a question pro-lifers can't answer! It's so easy to come up w/"solutions" when it's not your problem to solve! Forcing religious views or moral convictions on others is unconsti.tutional & morally reprihensible! This is what life will be like on Romney's watch, he'll be the moral watchdog who will repeal all the advances made in the last 20-30 years for women, gays & people of color! Talk about "divisive"!! Obama Nov. 6!

    October 10, 2012 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  11. myway

    Once again Romney is trying to establish himself as a tough guy...this time at the expense of women.

    October 10, 2012 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  12. Zeke

    "If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things." -Big Bird

    October 10, 2012 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  13. mscarol13

    This man just flip and flop all over the place. I was just listening to him comment on signing to overturn RvW. If he would just stop lying and state how he feels I could better understand him. The bad part about this is I was beginning to warm up to him but when I keep finding him turning from what he has campaigned on, it just makes me sway the other way. I don't need a compulsive liar. Just tell me the truth and I can make a good judgement call

    October 10, 2012 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  14. Chelopez54

    I go crazy that people will vote for this man of lies just because he is republican and they are. Voting someone in that is terrible for our country and WOMEN! I can not believe Any woman would vote for this man unless they vote their party just for that reason and not because he good for the country or WOMAN"S issues! I pray none of you woman ever lose a daughter or granddaughter -any female family member-because she needed to get an abortion and now has to find an alley to have it in and possibly die.
    Did we NOT fight that fight and won many years ago??? I am not for abortion- to old to have children now but I do not feel anyone in government has a right to tell any woman or man for that matter what to do with their body.

    October 10, 2012 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  15. Chelopez54

    I go crazy that people will vote for this man of lies just because he is republican and they are. Voting someone in that is terrible for our country and WOMEN! I can not believe Any woman would vote for this man unless they vote their party just for that reason and not because he good for the country or WOMAN"S issues! I pray none of you woman ever lose a daughter or granddaughter -any female family member-because she needed to get an abortion and now has to find an alley to have it in and possibly die.
    Did we NOT fight that fight and won many years ago??? I am not for abortion- to old to have children now but I do not feel anyone in government has a right to tell any woman or man for that matter what to do with their body. PS. I am democrat and have voted outside my party when I believed in that person. Just saying.

    October 10, 2012 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  16. Scott in Texas

    Do all Mormons lie like Romney? Seriously, this guy will say anything and see's nothing wrong with it.

    October 10, 2012 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  17. Chelopez54

    Hate those lips as well as Ryan's. Can not be trusted!

    October 10, 2012 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  18. robert calvosa

    Yeah, but he's a great debater

    October 10, 2012 02:48 am at 2:48 am |
  19. Jim

    So he lied. Big deal. ALL politicians lie. They espouse one set of ideals to get past the primary, in Romney's case it was a message supporting the views of his misogynistic, homophobic, anti-intellectual, anti-science ultra-religous nut jobs. After the primary, he switches his message to appeal to a larger and more moderate group. Politics as usual. Your job, as a voter, is to figure out in which case (if any) he was stating his real beliefs.

    October 10, 2012 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  20. Name

    There he goes again flip flop

    October 10, 2012 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  21. guss

    I realy don't get about the american people watchn and listening to a presidential canidate change almost evry position he takes,!! How can u trust him with forign leaders wat do u forign leaders will retailate with force if he lies to them just like he woes with us,,!! World war3 here we come,,!! Thanx america,,,!!!

    October 10, 2012 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  22. Not this subject again.

    How can a man have any opinion about it? Men do not conceive, carry and give birth to babies. It is a highly sensitive issue between a Woman and her medical practioner. Nobody else. Not a politcal agender issue.....sorry!

    October 10, 2012 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  23. Runes77

    Apparently, CNN will implode and the space-time continuum will rip if Romney is elected. Why does CNN hate Romney so bad? Obama is out at fundraisers while Americans are dying overseas, and Romney is the bad guy?

    October 10, 2012 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  24. Robert

    The Democrats, including millions of young women, defend "the right to choose" to destroy one's baby, and yet those same people look down on Nazis Germany for the holocaust. Right now the death toll is "American abortion = 30,000,000 plus, Nazis holocause – 6,000,000. How can these people look down on Nazis Germany when they have killed more people in abortion factories than the Nazis ever did in concentration camps? For most, their eyes have been blinded. For others, the leaders especially, they are just plain evil.

    October 10, 2012 03:00 am at 3:00 am |
  25. David Mariscal

    Sigh. At this point we know who the candidates are and you know this guy is a creeping nightmare. If you aren't registered to vote please do so tomorrow and in November let's make sure the Vulture/Voucher ticket loses.

    October 10, 2012 03:00 am at 3:00 am |
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