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 President Barack Obama rescinded it shortly after taking office in 2009.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

    Earths population is almost 7 billion and increasing. Population control is a must. Would you rather have the choice to terminate ones own pregnancy at will or under the hands of a china like system or worse? If you like or want a abortion don't get one. And for the religious nuts he who is without sin cast the first stone.

    October 10, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  2. Rmoney Rproblems

    The ONLY reason why any would even THINK of voting for this lying, flip flopping, do anything , say anything to be elected turd and not the reasonable intelligent competant individual we currently are blessed with is that you HATE Obama so much because he is black. Don't even TRY to make up another reason because you are voting for stupidity over intelligence and I don't want a fing Boss as a President. This country is NOT a fing business.

    October 10, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  3. on StreetWise

    Romney is a complete fraud! He has three positions on each issue. First he's for it, then he's against it, and lastly he's back for it... or, is it the other way around now??? "I stand firm on my word" and now "I was completely wrong"... What a crook!

    October 10, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  4. TheGman

    Robert, Comparing abortion to what happened to millions of people that were tortured and killed by one person's agenda is just plain ignorant. Why is it so hard to let women decide? It is their body and should be their choice, not the government nor your decision.

    October 10, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  5. fernace

    A man who flipflops like this has a hidden agenda! He know's his true views on this & other issues, knows they are archaic & will not state anything clearly until he's sworn in, when it's too late & we're stuck w/him for 4 yrs! At least his VP Ryan is stating outright that he's against abortion, no matter the reason, all contraception methods & IVF, which has helped many childless couples concieve! Pretty sure Romney shares his views! Obama Again, Please!!

    October 10, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  6. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    Romney agrees that women have no right to choose about carrying an unwanted or damaged or addicted fetuses to term. Just like women have no right to join services in the main temple of his faith.

    Why would women trust a man who won't even take his own wife into the main temple of his faith for services. If he will not disobey his church for his own wife, what would he do if church doctine was in contradiction with the intrests of the United States? Would he go against Mormon doctine jsut for a bunch of citizens who his church says are going to hell because they are not Mormon? Not a nice question. It may be needed but it is not one I would hope to have asked.

    October 10, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  7. AZDem

    Romney changes his position like he changes his magical underwear! How will he build up the Navy and cut taxes? Where is this money coming from? Oh I know..the programs to help the poor and middle class.

    HoneyBooBoo/Robmey 2012

    October 10, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  8. troy

    Post debate, Romney discovered that a good portion of Americans are gullible and easily fooled by fast talk, deceit and lies, so he feels he can pretty much say what ever he wants to sell his next used car. Why this swindler is even close in the polls reflects a collective stupidity on America's part.

    October 10, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  9. LtButRt

    Romney will say anything to secure some validity. I can't figure out if he is ignorant, without any real convictions or just crazy like a fox. This seemingly uninformed, indecisive approach lacks true leadership abilities.

    October 10, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  10. liz

    ""There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda," "

    ""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,""

    So he is lying. Again.

    October 10, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  11. gateway

    Romney flipped so many times he doesn't know his right from left anymore. How can anyone trust this guy is beyond me. And I'm sure conservative Christians don't trust him either, but they'll vote for him because their pastor tells them so.

    October 10, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  12. troy

    Post debate, Romney discovered that a good portion of Americans are gullible and easily swayed by fast talk, deceit and lies, so he feels he can pretty much say what ever he wants to sell his next used car to the voters. Why this swindler is even close in the polls reflects deep rooted issues for our beloved country.

    October 10, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  13. LynneSki

    "There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda"

    Shouldn't he know his agenda? and know if there was legislation regarding abortion on it? Because, if he doesn't know, who does? And why do they know and he doesn't? And if he doesn't know about this, what else doesn't he know about? If elected, who will really be in charge if he doesn't know what his agenda is?

    October 10, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  14. Romney > obama

    Why does the federal government need to fund abortions? They didn't help me pay for my live birth child.

    Why is this story so important, and the story about obama's Libya cover up not on the front page?

    October 10, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  15. JECD

    He's pro life all of a sudden? He wasn't when he was governor here in MA. He was ABSOLUTELY pro choice then. How rediculous.

    October 10, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  16. reasonablebe

    he has no personal convictions or stands– he will say whatever people want to hear, based on populism, in order to get elected. he does not actually believe many things he says or does, and there is no way to tell what he will actually do, other than with regards to wealthy and poor– he will support the better off and take funds from programs that help the poor in any way, whether it is support (medicaid, food swtamps) or a hand up so they can put themselves in a better place ( head start, education assistance, general education, etc.)

    now he's for, then he's against, then he's for again- depends on how the wind blows.... scary.

    October 10, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  17. Mycenia

    That's funny, last thing I knew, Planned Parenthood (nor anyone else) didn't have posters and banners advertising, "Come Get Your Abortion Today!" No one is advocating for abortion. They are advocating for the right to their own bodies. I, personally, am anti-abortion. But my personal beliefs are not law. Nor should they be. You know what happens when you stigmatize, much less ban abortions? More 14 year-olds strangle their newborns and hide their bodies in the closet. Most of the other million get put on welfare, which republicans want to take away. I get so tired about hearing all theses policies to protect the fetus and absolutely no plans to protect the subsequently unwanted children.

    October 10, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  18. Numyorangay

    Well, a good way to abort without governments being involved is owning and riding dressage horses. . .oops!

    October 10, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  19. db

    Whenever there is an abortion story, I start reading and then about halfway through, I get so hungry for a tender fetus sandwich.

    October 10, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  20. Jerome Horowitz

    Sc rew it – I'm voting Green.

    (And don't give me this cr ap that I'm "throwing away my vote". If I don't like the Democrats or the Republicans, and I agree with just about everything the Green Party has to say, then I am voting for the person I think would be best.)

    October 10, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  21. dood

    Is Romney really the best person the Republicans could come up with to run for President of the United States? He's a wishy-washy kind of guy that just doesn't fill the bill.

    October 10, 2012 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  22. Larry

    Dishonest claims? You that make that claim I guess are blind to Obama and his 3.5 years of doing whatever he wants minute by minute without going through the process. He simply lies and makes executive orders. That is not honesty or how this Nation was founded.

    October 10, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  23. WhatNow

    Surprise, Romney has changed his stance again!

    October 10, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  24. Suni

    Romney is right, he cannot stick with his own opinion all the time,he has to be the President to all Americans. he is showing his capability to be fair to all citizens. I do not see anything wrong and will most certainly vote for him in November.
    Thank you Mr. Romney for changing opinions on certain issues. I trust you 100%. Unlike hitler OBAMA, who promised on
    many things and failed on all issues. Vote Romney 2012 to bring changes in America.

    October 10, 2012 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. Andrew

    This man does not know the word integrity!!he seems to really enjoy lying about everything!! His father must be turning over in his grave...

    October 10, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
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