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 President Barack Obama rescinded it shortly after taking office in 2009.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

    This guy lies about anything, he just wants to be president snd will do or say anything to get it. No integrity in the man

    October 10, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  2. alko

    How many times has Romney's campaign spokespeople have to clarify what Romney meant to say or what he stands for, because he himself can't make up his mind. It's like "I used to be pro-choice but now I'm pro-life and maybe later I will be pro-choice again. I just don't know yet."

    October 10, 2012 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  3. Yankee Doodle Dandy

    Good call, we shouldn't be paying for this using our tax dollars. These women need to learn to keep their legs closed, thats the best birth control, a little respect and class.

    October 10, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  4. Sydney Lucke-Angel

    Romney has changed his stance on abortion multiple times! 1982-2001 he was pro choice, 2002- 10/08/12 hew was Prolife, 10/09/12 he's pro choice. The problem is every time he runs for public office he changes his position to whatever the National Consensus is at the moment.Mitt Romney "I will support what you believe at some point today just give me five minutes! Because I stand by what I said whatever it was."

    October 10, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  5. Scott

    Ha! Democrats and CNN reaching for anything they can. Blah...Blah...Blah..... Hope and Change=Fail

    October 10, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  6. Daniel

    Mitt's Plan

    1. Flip flop flip flop flip flop.

    2. say anything to get elected.

    3. Do anything I can to cut taxes for the rich once I get elected.

    October 10, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  7. richwood7

    I wish Romney would get his massiveFederal government dream out of this country and turn it back to the people. This is NOT a teocratic dictatorship like what he dreams of. Move to Irtan GOP that is your dream world.

    October 10, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  8. YoursIsNoDisgrace

    Why any Pro-Life voter would trust this guy is beyond me. Could it be something else???!!!

    October 10, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  9. David

    Flippity Flippity Flop
    He'll say anything to get to the top.
    Don't compare today
    With what's said yesterday
    Flippity Flippity Flop

    October 10, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  10. Ludwig

    During In Vitro Fertizlization multiple eggs are fertilized, but obviously only one actually develops into a child. Where does Romney (and the GOP) stand on this issue? Knowing that most of those fertilized eggs will be lost, does that qualify as abortion?

    October 10, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  11. SoundofGod

    Why are we even discussing this? Romney already won.

    October 10, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  12. Convoluted

    just what we need is another man telling us what we can and can not do with OUR bodies. Some one should rape him and let him carry the child(if only it was possible) and allow him to be responsible for that child until he or she turns 21.Go away MITT you stunk in MA and you will be a disaster as president.

    October 10, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  13. Hi

    The President should just shut up when it comes to abortion. He uses federal funds to support abortion businesses. Planned Parenthood claims to perform mammograms, when their facilities don't even have the authorization to do them. Most of them just refer you to places that do mammograms. "Stay out of our uterus, but pay for our abortions". What a hypocrite.

    October 10, 2012 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  14. Dave

    First Romney supports abortions, with the condition that the fetus be "saved" incase he changes his mind so it can be reinserted at a later date. Then he says no abortions...if we need to get rid of the excess people he will start a new war and kill them off that way. I just wish he would make up his mind and stick with it! Flip flops are for feet...not presidents.

    October 10, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  15. Miki thinks

    The truth with Romney is that he is pro-birth not pro-life. After the birth a child who is sick, or disabled, or poor is just one more 47% moocher.

    October 10, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  16. rockysfan

    If Mittster is pro-death penalty, I hate to shake your tree but he is NOT pro-life. God, I'm so sick to death of the rethugs saying they are pro-life when the vast majority are just anti-abortion.

    October 10, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  17. American Mom

    So please democrats explain how the government not providing funds for abortions is a bad thing! If a person decides to have an abortion that is between them and their God not for me to condemn or approve, but just as it is their choice it should be their responsibility to pay for it not me.

    October 10, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  18. wolfpackbob

    It is The Economy, Mr. President. Your Economy, Mr. President. You built that.

    October 10, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  19. Debby

    As a woman I agree with Romney. I also use to be pro-choice nothing wrong with changing your mind. In certain circumstances like rape and incese than that should be left up to the victim whether they want the child or abort.

    October 10, 2012 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  20. PeterD

    He is Right. Government has NO Business getting into People's Private Life.

    October 10, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  21. Paul

    It's not a woman's right to choose but a baby's right to live.

    October 10, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  22. marjee123

    The thing is to get his opinion of anything you have to be with the group who approves of his opinion. Because then tomorrow he might be in front of a group with an entirely different view. And he would of course agree with that one. You know "now you hear it, then you dont'."

    October 10, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  23. Publius Novus

    Could we possibly get this Stanford/BYU/Harvard/Harvard graduate to stop using "regards" incorrectly? It's "with regard to" or "in regard to." "Regards" are good wishes.

    October 10, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  24. Lindsey

    With a Romney/Ryan presidency, the United States will go backward about 90 years to the Gilded Age, where the rich and powerful ruled this country, the middle class did not yet exist because there were no unions strong enough to help the poor workers climb out of the hole that the rich business owners put them into, banks were unregulated and could do anything they pleased, there were no safety nets at all so if you lost your job you and your family starved, when senior citizens became ill they just died because there was no health care for them, and 10 year old kids worked long hours in factories in dirty and dangerous conditions.

    This is the vision of America that Republicans have for this country.

    Here's a clue for you people. Been there, done that. IT DIDN'T WORK.

    October 10, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |

    OH NO NOT AGAIN!! This man changes his positions every 5 minutes. Who can trust anything he says ! Where is his real core ?? Mitt Romney will say and do anything to get elected. It is just disturbing how he can just lie and walk back every position in he stated. No one should vote for this man he is insane and cannot be TRUSTED. I am a republican and I will not be voting for him. Stand for something or just shut up..

    October 10, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
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