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 President Barack Obama rescinded it shortly after taking office in 2009.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

    Dnes anybody know what Romney believes or stands for? His position changes from day to day.

    October 10, 2012 04:36 am at 4:36 am |
  2. Dale

    People this is not the first time nor last time his comments will spark questioning.......he has yet to lay out plans for his tax reform, he lied in ref to preexisting health coverage ( if you do not have health insurance you are subject to preexisting conditions – the only way you will not be is if you change carriers- already insured ) so he is not for all Americans getting coverage which tells me he is for big business Cigna,Eatna, Blue Cross Blue shield............. again his comments are questioning in this article.....

    October 10, 2012 04:38 am at 4:38 am |
  3. 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.

    October 10, 2012 04:38 am at 4:38 am |
  4. Ian

    Romney's positions change once every few days. His political beliefs reflect whatever he thinks will help him get elected at the time. This is nothing new, and shame on the media for not calling it out every time it happens.

    October 10, 2012 04:40 am at 4:40 am |
  5. cliff

    This dude changes his stance more than the polls change their numbers. And people would vote for him why? He's the most dishonest Candidate I can remember except for G.W.

    October 10, 2012 04:45 am at 4:45 am |
  6. phil

    Is this a flip or a flop?

    October 10, 2012 04:45 am at 4:45 am |
  7. Aliwisious Davendander III

    Mitt Romney can only be trusted as far as his word, and he changes his word every hour. And if you want a nasty surprise if this guy gets in the white house, go ahead and vote for him. It's your dice and your roll. He in his own freaking words will say one thing one day and then when pressed on it the very next day he will run away from what he originally said and come up with something completely different. That shows absolutely no spine and no truth to stand on. He will say anything ti get elected, and saying something what what he may actually do are apparently two totally different things. Its a risk not worth taking.

    October 10, 2012 04:45 am at 4:45 am |
  8. Chedar

    Pathetic little Romney is at it again.

    October 10, 2012 04:48 am at 4:48 am |
  9. maias

    (1) “Governor Romney would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life.”

    Does this mean Romney will allow an abortion to take place to save the mother's life?

    (2) "Romney concluded 'I simply could not sign on to take human life'"

    But will this position be forgotten when Romney has the chance to declare war on some less developed country, and will he be prepared to bomb innocent civilans to test new US weapons (as was recently revealed was the purpose of droppping the A-bombs on Japanese cities – not to shorten WWII and save US lives)?

    October 10, 2012 04:48 am at 4:48 am |
  10. ManTex

    Typical GOP / MR. Say whatever it takes to pander to the masses and then proceed with the far right agenda.

    So now .... do you see why it is so important to obtain the specifics of the heretofore supersecret MR tax plan. His tax plan has but one objective – preserved the Bush 2 tax cuts for the rich.

    October 10, 2012 04:49 am at 4:49 am |
  11. jo

    This Guy is Lie a Minute....how can one keep track???

    October 10, 2012 05:00 am at 5:00 am |
  12. Jane

    I'm so glad this man and his vice presidential candidate thinks a woman should have to be reminded of her rape by carrying a pregnancy to term and then having to go through the anguish of a birth only to see the offspring of her rapist that she never wanted. And the adoption thing is overrated. Go adopt a rapist's baby Mitt, and look into the eyes of the woman who had to endure the pain of rape and the aftermath of the horrific incident.

    October 10, 2012 05:01 am at 5:01 am |
  13. Tim

    What can you say... He is EVERYBODY'S candidate.. What a concept. He must be the smartes politician ever to think up such a thing.

    October 10, 2012 05:02 am at 5:02 am |
  14. Jane

    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 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.

    October 10, 2012 05:03 am at 5:03 am |
  15. Woman

    Women! if you are a woman who believes in a womans right to make choices about our own body and life, please re-read this before vote for Romney / Ryan... Romney states (again and again) he would 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,"

    October 10, 2012 05:04 am at 5:04 am |
  16. Semper Cogitatus

    A Republican candidate"s comments are supposed to draw Democrat criticism, and vice-versa. The more the better.

    October 10, 2012 05:04 am at 5:04 am |
  17. fekt

    poor mittens, he's trying to hard to pretend to be a liberal he forgot all the time he spent pretending to be a conservative.

    October 10, 2012 05:08 am at 5:08 am |
  18. Name Riri

    Romney can not be trusted with a dead body he really think we are dumb and vote for him am One of the 47% you are not getting my vote rich boy

    October 10, 2012 05:13 am at 5:13 am |
  19. Garret

    still trying to find anything to bash Romney on, Shame on you CNN. Maybe people would respect you more, if you actually reported news and not hate!

    October 10, 2012 05:14 am at 5:14 am |
  20. 2s godim

    And yet another 'flip-flop'

    October 10, 2012 05:14 am at 5:14 am |
  21. 2s godim

    And once again,another 'flip-flop'

    October 10, 2012 05:16 am at 5:16 am |
  22. Semper Cogitatus

    A Republican candidate"s comments are supposed to draw Democrat criticism. The more the better.

    October 10, 2012 05:17 am at 5:17 am |
  23. KC Yankee

    Well, just ask him during a debate, cause that's when he tells the truth right? Or wait a minute, is that when he's lying? Well anyway he sure is a heck of a leader isn't he? He knows how to come to a debate ready to lie, I mean lead.

    October 10, 2012 05:21 am at 5:21 am |
  24. Langkard

    Can anyone be sure what Romney will do on any subject, if elected? The answer is a flat no. Romney says whatever he thinks his audience wants to hear. This isn't a man who can make the tough decisions necessary to lead this country. Had Romney been president when it came time to give the go order to get bin Laden, faced with the majority of his advisers arguing against it, Romney would have said no go and bin Laden would still be alive. Romney isn't capable of leadership. He is nothing more than a yes man to whatever constituency has his attention. Who would run the country if Romney is elected? The answer to that is no one knows.

    October 10, 2012 05:21 am at 5:21 am |
  25. Majormauser

    Who CARES!!!!!!!! There are abortion laws now. This is just Obama trying to change the subject from Jobs and whats really important to America. If Obama wanted to change it he had 4 years to do it.

    October 10, 2012 05:21 am at 5:21 am |
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