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 President Barack Obama rescinded it shortly after taking office in 2009.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

    Republicans are all for "small government" when it means tax cuts for the rich, but are all for BIG government when telling women what to do with their bodies. Fetuses are not people. Underloved children who live in poverty and have no health care would be a better place for people to focus their outrage. But its easier to be self-righteous about abortion and forget about real, living, suffering poor people

    October 10, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  2. Tony

    So, abortion is no longer on Romney's agenda. President Clinton is right. Old moderate Mitt showed up at the debate. Obama thought he was facing a "severe conservative" Mitt, and he was surprised when another Mitt showed up. So now everything that was old in the Republican Party is new again. Social and religious conservatives, you can go away now. Mitt was never really into you.

    October 10, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  3. RainCityLady

    In case there's anybody left who can't figure this out, Mitt Romney says whatever he thinks is convenient at the time and venue. He does this because he thinks voters are so stupid they won't remember what he has said in the past. Who wouldn't want to vote for a man who has no respect for the intelligence of his citizens?

    October 10, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  4. CryBabies

    I'm so glad all you liberals had parents that had values ,ethics and morals....If not , you might not be around to discuss the issues

    October 10, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  5. linefeeder

    Isn't Romney one of the Gyno-Governors?

    October 10, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. Obama Mama

    @uninformed Melody-tax payers do not pay for abortions,dear.
    Also in your 47%, is 4,000 millionaires that do not pay taxes. Actually you are factually challanged.
    This is income tax, not sales taxes, not state and local taxes. They pay taxes, they just have mort. taxes, child taxes, etc..
    Although the 47% does not have the tax deductions Mitt and Ann have like a horsey tax or tax avoidence like the Caymans or a trust fund or shares or other capital gains that never get taxed because they go straight to the trust fund or tax avoidence for the wealthy.

    October 10, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  7. GFreeman

    Mitt Romney and the Republicans believe that political speach is fiction while Obama and the Demoncrats believe that it is non-fiction. That's why Mitt can take any position while ignoring the fact checkers. In fiction there are no lies because facts are irrelevent! This concept has so debased and corrupted political speach that if Romney wins democracy in this country may never recover.
    [See Romney's reponse to fact checking of his first political ad against Obama].
    Mitt Romney has taken all side of every major position. He is multiple choice.
    Gover Norquest was right, all they need is someone who has a pen to sign their radical legitslation.

    October 10, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    The same people complaining about "welfare queens" having 50 children and living off goernment assistance are the same ones who complain about right to choose and contraception. Ironic Huh?

    October 10, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  9. Harry Baxter

    Mitt is "Proudly Pro Life" today. When he ran for Governor of Massachusetts, he was "Proudly Pro Choice". As a Commentator said recently, "Mitt is the Ron Jeremy of Politicians. He has a new position every day!" (If you don't know who Ron Jeremy is, look it up. He's not a Politician; he worked in a more respectable business).

    October 10, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  10. greg the progressive

    @May

    Americans should support a woman's right to choose. ESPECIALLY THE WOMEN WHO ARE GROWING IN MOMMY'S TUMMY.
    Thanks for protecting the most vulnerable Romney, you just got my vote

    ----------------------------------------------------------–

    wow, did you even read the article, much less the headline. Romney is flipping again. Neither you nor the rest of America know where he will end up once he has won. You are a fool to blidly trust someone who has been on both sides of every issue. I feel so sorry you and your naivity.

    October 10, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  11. Whatever

    Nobody is "pro-abortion" What people are for is protecting a woman from government's overreach right into the middle of her life into one of the most difficult situations she can be in. I can't imagine anyone saying "Oh BOY! I get to go get an abortion" But what I can imagine is a 16 year old dumb kid who was taught abstinance only but got impregnated wanting to not end every dream of her life. I can imagine a 40 year old woman who's been trying for years only to tragically find out that her child has severe birth defects that would be an unbearable burden even IF the child survived to term. I can imagine people making mistakes and having to make a decision that they know will always haunt them, but making it anyway. You folks who make it sound like women do it as if it was nothing are disgusting. Most of you are the same people who as soon as that lady with the child with severe birth defects has that baby, has to drop to part time or no job to care for its needs, loses her insurance and has to rely on medicaid to care for it, food stamps and WIC to feed it, etc will denounce her as a leach and blight on society. None of you have the forsight or selfawareness to know that many people in this country are one turn of bad luck away from needing help...and many of you are amongst that group. Most people who have had abortions were folks who never thought that they would support it until the situation was right in front of them. Most of them mourn their decisions long after it's made, even if they know they'd make the same decision again. The bottom line is if you're not the mother or the father, it's none of your business. You don't need to get involved in it. If they are truly to be judged, then you zelots know who will judge...but I suspect you may find him more forgiving than you think.

    October 10, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. Laurie in Spokane

    I do not understand how the 45% of so of people who say they support Romney can think that way. Do they not want someone who sticks with his values day after day, and doesn't change his viewpoint just to garner votes? Romey is the biggest flipper in politics, and I wouldn't trust him at all to do what he says hes going to.

    October 10, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  13. greg the progressive

    @Melody

    We already pay for 47% of Americans that do not pay taxes, heck why shouldn't we pay for women to kill their children?...What the heck....

    ----------------------------------------------------------

    Havnt we already determined who it is and why they do not have to pay federal income tax. Even Mitt said that statement was wrong, guess he isnt worth your trust, but I am sure your partisanship makes it so that you don't care. some people are just stupid, not saying you, but some people who can't keep up with what their candidate is saying from day to day.

    October 10, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  14. VonRam

    Their goes Romney flip flopping again. It has been a trend for the past two weeks and its not going to stop either. Wake up people everyone knows he's saying what he must to get elected and if he is, the women and the middle class are screwed.

    October 10, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  15. AL Humanist

    Yeah, I'm not sure anyone should be taking anything Mitt Romeny says at face value at this point – he's clearly now in the "words have no meaning" part of the campaign. Just keep in mind that he'll need to keep his base happy once he's elected, and his base is a liittle more forthcoming on what sort of changes they'd like to see. And, yes, that will involve "abortion related legislation."

    October 10, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  16. Obama Mama

    Do you hear the rocks rattling? Just Mitt changing his mind again.

    October 10, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. david

    what is the problem with these repubs? they need to get out of between a womens legs and focus on the country! either that or all old repubs need to get a sex change so they have some of the parts themselves to focus on. give me a break you sick old men!

    October 10, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Does he plan to support all the born children who have no future ahead of them...don't judge pro-choice supporters as it is a CHOICE!

    October 10, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  19. sparks2000

    I also like the firm lip gesture from Romney-–lol-–the look of "I am determined to do right."Bush had that same look,right up until the day he screwed us over.

    October 10, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  20. Squeezebox

    I'm sick of the pro-Obama ads that imply that Planned Parenthood is the only place a woman can get cancer screenings. It's simply NOT TRUE. Any woman can walk into any gynecologist or hospital and schedule those same screenings, on an ability to pay basis, without having to go to a murder mill to get them. Planned Parenthood ends more lives than it saves and it's time to shut them down!

    October 10, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  21. FedUp2

    Watch as Romney turns the White House into the Waffle House!

    October 10, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  22. 4moreyears

    No one has the right to tell anyone what to do with there bodies. I think there are more numbers of unwanted beaten and abused children in this country then there are abortions. Just because some one is Pro Choice does not mean that they agree with abortion, just means that people have the right to decide. SMDH

    October 10, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  23. Just Curious

    What percentage of Pro Life advocates either have adopted or foster children ?

    October 10, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  24. LEPKE IS sick

    LEPKE, You are a sick person. We have a law that states murder is illegal and yet you say because a woman does not want her child we can make an exception to that. The world does not revolve around woman's rights only. The unborn child comes first.

    October 10, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  25. amieh

    0704American, well I guess I am a dingle berry then.

    October 10, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
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