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 President Barack Obama rescinded it shortly after taking office in 2009.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

    Its garbage like this that lowers the rest of the worlds opinion of this country. The fact that they are still discussing turning over legislation that gives a woman a right to do what she wants with HER body, enacted 40 years ago, is so backwards. Mmm, pretty much sums up the Republican party.

    October 10, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  2. Eric C. Lopez Rosario

    THe Obama administration should make an ad with video clip after video clip of Romney condradicting himself on everything that he's had: abortion, the auto bailout, taxes, the 47% remark, ect. Obama's an extremely weak incumbent, but Romney is a horrible candidate. But the fact that this type of ad isn't being done, and instead they focus on Big Bird ads, is ridiculous.

    October 10, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  3. Mr Mel

    Here he goes again. Flip flopping on a most important issue. Any woman that supports the GOP might as well back the Taliban, because the Republicans and their Evangelist core would like nothing better.

    October 10, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  4. dtcpr

    Planned Parenthood is not soley used for abortion. It provides necessary medical care to women who would otherwise be unable to afford it. It also provides birth control (which when used properly would decrease unwanted pregnancies). Stopping the federal funding to Planned Parenthood would have disasterous affects on women all over America.

    Women are important and we are allowing ourselves to be walked all over.

    I'm tired of the politicians throwing my rights around and for this reason I am supporting Barak Obama. A man who respects women.

    October 10, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  5. jrl1234

    This sounds reasonable he will not make any new laws regarding abortion. Where is the assault on woman’s rights the media has been screaming about for the past year? Ohh no you might have to pay for your own abortion.

    October 10, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  6. SuZieCoyote

    More flopping around by Mitt. He wants conservatives to believe he will fight reproductive choice with everything he's got and liberals to believe that he has his fingers crossed behind his back and will fight, ah, not so much.

    October 10, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  7. pumanoir

    If you vote or this guy-you'll be condemning our country. Romney will say anything and flip-flop. Not long ago he stated that he said that his remarks on the 47% was honest and will not apologized for it-now he asking forgiveness because he did well on the debate. WAKE UP AMERICANS-DON'T BE LET YOUR INTELLIGENCE BEEN QUESTIONED. AS AN INDEPENDENT WHO VOTED REPUBLICAN IN 08 NOW VOTING DEMOCRATS IN 2012. ITS TIME TO WAKW UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE.

    October 10, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  8. Ferret out the BS

    The law was put in place to end a blackmarket on abortions which oftentimes ended taken the life of the mother as well as the embryo. That blackmarket will again rise and flourish if roe v wade is overturned.

    October 10, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  9. ViK100

    ABSOLUTELY WELL SAID MR. ROMNEY!! This is why more and more I'm walking away from being a democrat. I cannot call myself a Christian and at the same time support killing babies. I admire and applaud Romney's stance of staying firm on this matter.YOU have my vote Romney!!

    October 10, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  10. carlos

    look at the devil's face..........that's who you want to vote for?????

    October 10, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  11. winky

    Romney has no shame or moral center. He changes his position daily and lies with such ease that there is no way I would ever vote for him.

    October 10, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  12. Name OutOfTheBox

    This guy believes there should be no right to choice, and no help fot indigent kids. He is pro-life, but seems to believe that life begins at conception... and ends at birth. So poor women should be forced to go through the pregnancy and childbirth, and then watch their babies suffer from lack of food, shelter, medical care? Romney is cruel.

    October 10, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  13. angryersmell

    I in no way will ever do anything as president that you're not going to like, except for all of the things that I will do which you almost certainly will not like.

    – Mitt Romney

    October 10, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  14. Kathy Mills

    Women simply can not trust this party or this man. Women wake up! This man is dangerous. His views on women willl set women back years, It is interesting that he had stock in a company that did medical experiements and disposed the fetus, yet he opposes abortion in all circumatances! Guess when it comes to his pocketbook his view changes. What a fake! Wake up American women! Remember all the senseless deaths that ocurred before legalized abortion. Vote OBAMA for your health. Vote OBAMA for medicare. Vote OBAMA for social security. Vote OBAMA to protect your daughters. Vote OBAMA for your healthcare.

    October 10, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  15. Angela

    Federal funds aka tax payer money should never be used for abortions. I don't support abortions being a method of birth control and should not be forced to pay for it. If people can afford a 500.00 iPhone then they can pay for their own disgusting proceedure. Obama has been funded by a family planning, so he has an invested interest in their programs.

    October 10, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  16. Pepou

    And the flip flop continues. Who, in their right mind, would vote for that liar?

    October 10, 2012 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  17. carolinabear

    If you’re a woman or a minority, you can kiss your personal freedoms goodbye if Romney wins.

    October 10, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  18. Ricke1949

    The question is whether ""the fetus is a human." Abortion is allowed until the time of a " natural delivery." Obama supports all abortion. His position that supports radical destruction of a human life a minute before natural birth is a very radical position.

    October 10, 2012 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  19. itsonlyfair

    The ultimate goal of the GOP is to ban abortions without exceptions. Anyone who has followed the legislative activity of the GOP at the state and federal levels since the 2010 midterm elections knows this. Paul Ryan himself has co-sponsored legislation that would extend full Constitutional rights to fertilized eggs "without exception". Romney has already affirmed that he would sign such measures into law if they passed Congress, and has also said that he intends to appoint Supreme Court justices that would "hopefully" strike down Roe v. Wade.

    October 10, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  20. Namejason Jones

    Leave it to CNN to spin stories to make Romney look bad. No headline mentioning
    Barack Hussein getting beat in most all polls.
    Typical liberal " journalism". Let him run on his last failed four years and quit trying to help him!!!

    October 10, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  21. Jeff

    I'm tired of pretending I even care about the abortion issue anymore. I think you're a horrible person for getting one, but where it ranks in terms of who I vote (in either direction) for is so far down the list of issues I'd vote on, that watching it continue to be a major issue that would honestly affect how someone votes baffles me.

    October 10, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  22. Angel

    WHO CARES!!!!! Everyone even a man running for president can have an opinion. All the criticism is just people that try to run others lives. I believe everyone should be able to make their own choice. Also the media helps the hype trying to start something to keep people interested in the news and the presidential race. But to just let you know people have already got their mind set which hole they will punch on the ballet form. So all of you that want to bash a man for an opinion get over your self and move on.

    October 10, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  23. mdreader

    This man's entire platform is a coin toss. It won't matter if he is elected or not, because he will just ride on whatever is popular with the people in the room at the time.

    October 10, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  24. 1970

    Why hello there. So Mitt Romney is a time traveler who would like to push womens rights back to the 1970's. Hey, maybe he can get rid of their pesky right to vote as well! Soon, they'll all be back in Mitt Romneys kitchen, making Republicans sandwiches. Vote for this guy ladies! You've been out of the kitchen too long!

    October 10, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  25. Chris

    Go mitt abortion is evil anyone for abortion is against the 5th commandment

    October 10, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
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