Romney abortion comment draws Democratic criticism
October 10th, 2012
12:25 AM ET
10 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 President Barack Obama rescinded it shortly after taking office in 2009.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. MaryM

    Mitt Romney is a Liar and a flip flopper. How in the hell can anyone believe a word he says? How do you even know what he believes since he changes his previous stated policies every week.
    In a debate with Ted Kennedy Mitt said that he was po-choice. Ted Kennedy said that he was pro-choice also but that Mitt was multiple choice. Ted Kennedys statement still holds true today.

    October 10, 2012 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  2. Beverly Nyc

    What else is new, another lie another walk back. Hard to believe this guy has a poll lead, with every flip flop can anyone really believe that someone so indecisive should be Commander in Chief?

    October 10, 2012 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  3. Cherubim

    How can people stand this two-faced liar, Mitt Romney?

    October 10, 2012 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  4. GetSmartUSA

    Romney's policy on contraception and abortion is: 'Who is my audience? I will have to change my mind"

    October 10, 2012 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  5. BeverlyNC

    Is there anything Romney will not lie about? Ryan, along with the once denounced Todd Akin, who told the truth about Republican views on rape, abortion, and the non-rights of women over their own bodies, are the co-authors of Congressional bills that created the various defintions of rape to ultimately blame the woman and therefore ban all abortion. Ryan and Akin also co-wrote the "personhood" Congressional bill that would ban all contraception and procedures like in vitro fertilization. Romney said his goal was to overturn Roe v Wade. Of course, who knows what he will claim tomorrow? How anyone trusts Romney or believes he is fit for office when he has shown us no solutions, no character, no integrity, no values, and complete disdain and disrespect for women, the poor, the middle class, workers, teachers and education, and veterans. So far his only consistent support is for the non-human "People" the Supreme Court gave to corporations. When did TRUTH and CHARACTER stop being critical qualities for a candidate?

    October 10, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  6. jimmy lim

    Republican candidate is always anti abortion. but this guy is non commital n a flip flopper

    October 10, 2012 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  7. 2020

    Romney pro-anything to win, pathetic liar

    October 10, 2012 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  8. Kim

    Thisi man will say ANYTHING to get the job as president. He seriously makes me dizzy.

    October 10, 2012 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  9. Name

    Does Mitt actually have any core beliefs? He changes his positions more often than he changes his underwear!
    I understand the President's frustration. How do you debate someone who changes his views from one moment to the next. It reminds me of Ali's rope a dope.
    great for a boxer but not for a president.

    October 10, 2012 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  10. Name. Lewiis Davis, Jr.

    Who can trust anything that the "KING of FLIP/FLOP" says. The biggest lair since the world began. If he wins,I hope they all get what he has to offer. Nothing for the 47%.

    October 10, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  11. sue

    I'm a democrat and I'm pro life. I wish Obama could have some of these opinions but without all the Romney crazy.

    October 10, 2012 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  12. 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!

    October 10, 2012 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  13. donna

    He is a creepy weird cult member with money and power who wants to glorify his "church" by becoming the most powerful person on Earth.

    October 10, 2012 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  14. Tom

    Romney is flipping back and forth like wihdshield wipers.

    October 10, 2012 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  15. Bing Li

    oh my! there he goes again.

    October 10, 2012 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  16. maf

    . . . and only a week after the debate, Romney is at it again, taking away a women's right to choose!
    The tide will slowly shift back and the Democrats will gain a lion's share of the independent women . . . and maybe a few Republicans who support Pro-choice. Game back on!!!

    October 10, 2012 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  17. penny wright

    The Republican war on women's rights continues....

    October 10, 2012 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  18. Name

    Oh Mitt! The truth will catch up to you and when it does you will be destroyed in this election; mock my words!

    October 10, 2012 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  19. The Left Wing

    Conservatives should be afraid, not rejoicing at Romney's recent successes. It is based on some flip flops that make him appear moderate. In your heart you always knew he wasn't a real conservative. He was only severely conservative to get the nomination. I think he originally thought he could win the general election as a conservative, but was finding out the hard way that he would lose. So, now he's become a moderate again. For example his new post debate positions are that taxes will not go down, regulation of businesses are good, and "There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda," If he actually wins running as a moderate to you think he'll go back to being severely conservative. Romney does what benefits Romney, and if he can win as a moderate, he'll throw conservatism under the bus just as fast as the threw is liberal positions under the bus to get the nomination.

    October 10, 2012 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  20. maltesefalconx9

    I am 100% against the anti-abortion movement.
    Do they stand out in work for the March of Dimes?

    October 10, 2012 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  21. Thomas

    I love that photo of Romney !

    Would some of you Neocons please try to convince me why I should vote for Romney .

    Please , give me one good reason . And not just the "Obama Bad" cave man reason .

    October 10, 2012 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  22. Valar Morghulis

    Business as usual. Romney can't help but tell one what he thinks one wants to hear.

    October 10, 2012 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  23. maltesefalconx9

    Romney is anti-abortion. They don't like those type of women.

    October 10, 2012 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  24. BrtokebackBarry

    So, Romney is saying people will have to pay for their abortions with their own money???


    Whatever shall we do?!!!

    October 10, 2012 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  25. maltygeezer

    For 32 years, Romney supported women's right to choose as a core value because that was a principle his mother fought for. Then when it became convenient for him to change his position in order to get the Conservative vote, he flip flopped his core value, just as he has done many times over. This guy can not be trusted to keep his word as President.

    October 10, 2012 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
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