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 President Barack Obama rescinded it shortly after taking office in 2009.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

    WAKE UP PEOPLE – one debate, by one bully, jerking around and being loud does not make a president – what has this country come to! Obama lives the life he is talking – day after day – Romney has lied and changed his position on every single issue – on a daily basis!
    OBAMA/BIDEN – for our live's sake, 2012

    October 10, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  2. Tom Bucceri

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

    Pro-life conservatives simply can't trust Mittens.

    Nobody can trust Mittens!

    October 10, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  3. demwit

    Nice anti-Romney article CNN.., another great job!! Progressively speaking of course..

    October 10, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  4. Vivek

    Romey is a "WHAT DO YOU WANT TO HEAR" guy. I don't think he has a position on anything. Romney has the talent to speak, what the audience wants to hear. I'm surprised, why the democrats could not raise this effectively with voters.

    October 10, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  5. Jeff

    He wants to "end federal funding for abortion advocates like Planned Parenthood." Absolutely nothing wrong with that. Go ahead and have one, just not on our dime.

    October 10, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  6. briawinde

    I agree with all of you. He lacks ethics, honesty and will say anything to get elected.

    It will speak volumes of what America has become if he gets elected...Shame on us if he is....There is no excuse to his behavior...and no right wing columnist, radio talk show host or news channel can excuse it.

    October 10, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  7. Wade

    Obama campaign accusing the Romney campaign of playing politics with abortion? Is that kind of like the pot calling the kettle

    October 10, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  8. ChesterL

    Lame, Lame, Lame. It's the economy people!!!! Abortion and other social issues can wait for another day. Right now we have to get unemployment down and start reducing the debt. I could care less about Romney or Obama's position on abortion, get the economy on track, then work on all the social agenda's you want!!!!

    October 10, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  9. truestory

    Why? Oh why are we talking about abortion again? Gay rights? Really? We are broke!.....focus America. I need Obama/Romney focusing on our huge dept, the exploding middle east and struggling economy....not these stupid social issues which should be delt with by the states. Liberals!...Quit throwing curve balls

    October 10, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  10. Malory Archer

    january2454

    Can't wait for inauguration day 2013. America will be happy to celebrate our new President, Mitt Romney.

    Morning in America. Keen intelligence and commitment to good governance in the White House. A new prosperity for the entire nation. Hooray!

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Just like mittens, your empty platitudes are just that – empty platitudes. Heaven help us if enough Americans are so gullible that they'll fall for his flip flopping. Thinking Americans are suffering from whiplash from the flip flops that he's done since the debate!

    October 10, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  11. lifelibertyanddeath

    I asked my son the other day when he felt life begins.. He said"duh – at conception!"... inconvenient truths.. Like most religious believe,.most often its adjusted when its inconvenient. This issues, like gay marriage, is between you and your god. The government has no place being in the middle of it, including using taxpayers money to support it. And those that try to justify it as being a tax burden if left to live is akin to killing people when they reach age 70 to save social security and Medicare. Of course if you.check the constitution read under 'Life, liberty and the right to pursue happiness.." Note the first right..

    October 10, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. Namkarenreneee

    You people do not understand. The government should not be paying for abortions in any country. thinking that Romney's stand on abortion makes him untrustworthy to women is ridiculous. Abortion is not that big a issue to most women, its the economy stupid

    October 10, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  13. Consequence

    The fact is Romney is a pro-life candidate who understands and accepts abortion in the case of incest, rape and the endangered health of the mother. Beyond that, Romney is a strong advocate for the unborn and the right of life to follow nature's course. Obama, on the other hand, under the guise of "women's rights", is prepared to allow abortion for almost any circumstance of a woman's choosing without regard to the rights of the unborn. The irresponsibility with which too many women make this decision or are forced to make this decision by irresponsible boyfriends and husbands has led to a legacy of death, disrespect for life and a trail of mental and emotional issues which derive from the irreversible decision to destroy innocent life.

    October 10, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. Phil

    "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.

    Do you liberals even read the articles, or do you see the headline and start foaming at the mouth with assumptions?

    October 10, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  15. James

    Separation of State and Church, that is what the Founding Fathers wanted but time & time again, religious beliefs are being used to get around the law of the land. If it is not a crime to have an abortion, let women decide on this matter. Or, go ahead and pass a law to say abortion is a crime and then government can interfere. Will Romney stop flip-flopping and come out anf say that he will make abortion a crime the first day in office along with repealing Obamacare.

    October 10, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  16. Tom

    Well, Romney had this Independents vote from the 1st debate until I just read this article. Back to Obama it is.

    Get out of the effing dark ages CONS!!!

    October 10, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  17. FormerTeaPartyPerson

    I have said it before and I will say it again, this guy is a phony and will say and do whatever in order to get elected. Plus, if Romney is elected I will make a perdiction: He will invade Iraq, Syria, and Iran; all within 90 days of his inauguration. His Mormonism scares me!

    October 10, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  18. Malory Archer

    january2454

    Can't wait for inauguration day 2013. America will be happy to celebrate our new President, Mitt Romney.

    Morning in America. Keen intelligence and commitment to good governance in the White House. A new prosperity for the entire nation. Hooray!

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Haven't you or the challenger anything to offer America besides empty platitudes? Heaven help us if voters are gullible enough to vote for a guy who flip flops so much that thinking Americans have a raging case of whiplash!

    October 10, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  19. USA4EVER

    Just look at CNN's Homepage each day. My son did a study in his Poly-Sci class on Media Bias. CNN for example had a 8-1 ratio in meaning that for every 8 stories released by them, only 1 was in Romney's favor. Even those meant to be a positive for him are tatinted. Take the article ("Clueless" star defends backing Romney), CNN had to make that their headline? Some know its the show but some think its a clueless actor supports Romney. Look at the Photo's too, always having Romney looking angry and flustered, Obama, calm and happy. What a joke and a dis-service CNN is providing.

    October 10, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  20. michael

    neither romney or obama can do a DAMN thing about abortion..... that is up to the supreme court

    October 10, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  21. John

    Mitt Romney just doing another Flip-Flop,or just flat out lying again. I can Believe any one would vote for this man. He can't be trusted at all.

    October 10, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  22. charlou

    I don't know which way Romney is going, he is first for than against whatever the subject may be. He says what he think will get him ahead. All abortions are not about just destroying a life. Some women have abortions because of incest, rape or maybe for their own life to be saved. Women are the keepers of their own bodies and the government need to stay away from that subject. I guess if a woman have an unwanted pregnacy because of rape or incest and have the child and keep it than the child become an abused child because of the resentment the mother have that will be ok and if she give the chikld up for adoption then she will be looked at as someone who doesn't have a heart and be criticized in many other ways. They need to run the USA and leave our personal lives and bodies alone.

    October 10, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  23. Max

    Why? Just why?

    Why? just why are people...rational people, especially women throwing their support behind Romney whose views on serious issues are like shifting sand? Why are we even paying any attention to what Romney said on these issues when we can't even figure out his position? Why can't we see for ourselves that he is simply taking advantage of us to get our votes?

    What kind of president would he be if elected? Certainly! he will flip flop on major policy issues and etch-a=sketch his way through his undertakings. Isn't it time for us to make up our minds about Romney given hat he can't make up his mind for us?

    Why do we waver like him?

    October 10, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  24. deb0155

    When you don't have a record to run on – the next best thing – get on the "women's rights bandwagon." The Democratic agenda has become a freak show. We have huge problems in this country – 23 million people out of work, 47 million people on food stamps, the illegals that are paid for by the American taxpayer, government expansion, and a health care bill that puts 21 taxes on businesses, and the Middle East up for grabs.

    Let's talk about those issues.

    October 10, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  25. Stretchy Pants

    @cliff, What? You think George Washington was dishonest? You're ruthless.

    October 10, 2012 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
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