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 President Barack Obama rescinded it shortly after taking office in 2009.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

    good stuff all these distractions.....its all settled law and nothing is going to change. its ALL about the economy and foreign policy Obama. figure it out....

    October 10, 2012 07:25 am at 7:25 am |

    How can you trust someone who keep hiding things, saying half true. Where are his tax returns?

    October 10, 2012 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  3. jblah

    Who knows what Romney believes. He says one thing then says another in a debate. He is saying whatever he needs to say to get elected. To him its just another "notch" in his belt of things he has accomplished. its not like he needs more money its all about having the "power".

    October 10, 2012 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  4. Jim

    This guy has more sides than dungeons and dragons dice!

    October 10, 2012 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  5. ChiefGunner

    In other news; Romney's comment "The sky is blue" is drawing fire. Democrats are insisting his comment demonstrates his anti-cloud agenda. "Clouds make pretty pictures in the sky," said former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

    October 10, 2012 07:32 am at 7:32 am |

    Same old double speak. if a bridge can be seen swaying back & forth and its movement threatening its very structure would you cross knowing that it can fall. Romney is that bridge- shakey on all the issues that are important to regular folk and threatening on so many fronts that to walk with him-to support him is to support those properities that not only undermine our liberty but compromises the fabricate of our existence.

    October 10, 2012 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  7. JPX

    "Mitt Romney is proudly pro-life" Really? That's something to be proud of? Thank goodness this horrible man will lose the election and women will be protected.

    October 10, 2012 07:33 am at 7:33 am |
  8. jl taylor

    Romney will say anything at any time, change his posistion on any issue, hide his tax history from the public, lie about
    what president Obama has accomplished, Pretend to be a war hawk even though he supported the Viet Nam war and
    the draft while hiding out in France to avoid the war. He should not become president.

    October 10, 2012 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  9. really?

    Abortion is NOT a major issue. Really wish media outlets would stop cramming useless bs down our throats...

    Besides, if some whore can't make a guy wear a condom? Then she needs to deal with the responsibility of raising that child.

    October 10, 2012 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  10. ToldUso

    Oh sure, that's what he says today. Someone will shake the Etch-a-Sketch soon and we'll hear different then.

    October 10, 2012 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  11. Oneslydragon

    I find it amazing how so many are fooled by Romney and Ryan! The R&R gang repression and recession duo.
    They have been on all three sides of every major issue, for, against and maybe.
    Like they said in Tampa, they don’t care about facts, just what sound right at the moment and gets them a vote.

    If these 2 have their way, everyone ready to retire can forget about it. There will be no medicare or Social Security .

    October 10, 2012 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  12. Don

    There should be no surprise here nor misbelief in R0mney's campaign lies.

    He has publically stated that he will eliminate Planned Parenthood.

    His support of the G0P/Teebog policy positions on women's choice issues is well documented.

    His salesman skills are not in question – R0mney could sell popsicles on the North Pole.

    October 10, 2012 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  13. richard miller

    This man is simply one of the biggest liars in the political process.

    October 10, 2012 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  14. bob

    You really want to elect a guy whose campaign motto could basically be "oops!" to have his finger on the button?

    October 10, 2012 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  15. Wade

    So let me get this straight. Romney would follow current federal law unlike OBAMA and not allow federal money to be used by non gov agencies for abortions. That draws ire from the dems. WOW! They only respect law breakers like Obama.

    October 10, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  16. Human Being

    Romney against abortion? lololol What a surprise? 2010 it was Jobs, Jobs, Jobs and all we got was abortion, birth control and repeal anything PBO did. lololololol

    October 10, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  17. ExRepublican

    Watch Romney will lie and flip flop about this issue.
    I dont trust romney he trying take away women rights.

    October 10, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  18. karek40

    If you can't trust a candidate with life, why would you trust him to responsibly spend your money.

    October 10, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  19. rs1201

    I'm a woman who would never take away any other woman's right to have an abortion...but I don't want to pay for it and I don't want my taxes to pay for it. There's such a thing as birth control pills, condoms, and other means of birth control. So, before a woman decides to put caution aside and get pregnant with the idea that the govt will pay for her abortion, she had better think won't happen.

    October 10, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  20. Common sense grandma

    Romney seems to take so many sides that each issue becomes an octagon for him.

    October 10, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  21. smithdp

    He is slippery. Buyer beware. But what is really misleading is his effort to blame Obama for the gridlock in Washington. Recall that the GOP leader in the senate said his goal was to make Obama a one term President. The GOP reflexively blocked every Obama initiative in congress, even a jobs bill that would have Another million Americans working by now. What we dont need is more Republicans running the government. Especially this one who begins to make Nixon look genuine.

    October 10, 2012 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  22. jsan

    Romney is such a tool. I would rather vote for a trained monkey than him.

    October 10, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  23. Name

    Romney can't be trusted. Every time he opens his mouth he contradicts himself. Obama is the man!

    October 10, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  24. snowdogg

    Mitt continues to disappoint... flopping again.

    October 10, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  25. BJR

    Romney's Etch-a-Sketch must be just about worn out by now from all the use its getting.

    October 10, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
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