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 President Barack Obama rescinded it shortly after taking office in 2009.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

    WEll there is nothing wrong with changing your mind on abortion and actually I agree with Romney on the above article.

    October 10, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  2. Lynsey Pug

    And if President Romney were unable to finish his term, Paul Ryan would be President. And PAUL RYAN wants to ban ALL abortions, even those following forcible rapes in which the ejection button on the uterus fails.

    October 10, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  3. manhandler

    I open up CNN this morning and all the stories on the Home page are Romney stories.....nothing about Obama. Guess after the debate, CNN decided to drop Obama all together. Guess in their minds he ceased to exist. Where's the balance, CNN? Or is this part of your campaign to make sure the election is as close as possible so you can maximize profits?

    October 10, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  4. al

    Wy do republicans seem to believe that they have some sort of obligation to tell grown adults what to do with their own bodies. I am surprised that they don't try to outlaw tattoos or having any kind of surgery as some sort of affront to god. Why can't republicans just leave us the he!! alone?

    October 10, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  5. kelvin

    how do you get he has a no-abortion legislation on his platform out of his statement, "There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda,"

    That cleary means he will not be pushing through any sort of abortion related laws. Leave it to the liberals to focus on big bird and abortion when unemployment is through the roof and we are 16 trillion dollars in debt. FOCUS ON THE REAL PROBLEMS

    October 10, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  6. Log Cabin

    Romney is such a snake oil salesman. He'll say anything to anybody to get elected!

    October 10, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  7. Aceboy

    Mitt continues to flipflop on issues. They refuse to work for the good of all americans. Beat obama is their cause no matter who is hurt

    October 10, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  8. Kweso

    And Romney flips and flops, flips and flops today just like he did yesterday.

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

    When are the American people going to pull their heads out of the sand and realize this guy and members of his party will say ANYTHING to get elected? American FIRST! Party a distant second! Come on people! Wake up and THINK!

    October 10, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  10. Fourth grade reader

    So he doesn't know of any legislation that he might not be aware of his position on yet.

    October 10, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  11. Wendy

    THE Democratic party is sooo hypocritical. What about President Obama's sudden "evolution" this past year on the issue of gay marriage...give me a break. PBS asked that they stop using "Big Bird" in their ridiculous ads so now they are reaching for new material. Give me a break.

    October 10, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  12. Patrick Lewis

    Yeah, fine. So what's his position going to be on it tomorrow?

    October 10, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  13. Brian

    I pray to god this dude isn't elected!

    October 10, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  14. Grace

    Mr Romney is a chameleon who changes "coats" faster than a vaudevillian clown. His entire campaign has been a sham.

    October 10, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  15. Michael

    The government does not have the right to interfere with a woman's body. Period. Here in Florida, there are many personalized plates, one of which states, "Choose Life". To me, the operative word is "Choose". I mistrust anyone that would willingly stomp on the rights of the individual. The GOP has a long record of ignoring individual rights in favor of their own moral "values" ... which I reject categorically. Just my $0.02 worth ...

    October 10, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  16. run2nite

    Of course I believe that the fat old men that comprise the Republican party should be able to make choices for women. Just like I think that women should be able to decide who they should perform back alley castrations to.

    October 10, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  17. Thomase

    So... what are you for Romney?

    October 10, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  18. WhatNow

    Surprise, Romney changed his mind again.

    October 10, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  19. Dennis Mariano

    If American people are so stupid of voting for Romney just because President Obama told truth in a decent tone without making false accusations against his opponent in a debate, then only God save them. If Romney gets elected and the middle class sees hike in their taxes, their mortgage deduction, child tax credit disappearing, seniors losing medicare and social security, hispanics getting deported in masses then they should blame not Romney but themselves for voting for this guy. If they dislike Obama because of debate and vote for Romney then they sure deserve what he is gonna do to them once elected.

    October 10, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  20. janetlaw

    So you can cut federal funding, so women without health insurance who use PP for check-ups, mammograms, etc, will no longer have access. THIS is what MOST women use PP for, Mitt. Get a clue. Any woman voting for this turd is as clueless as he is.

    October 10, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  21. Dakota

    If Romney gets elected, im callin it quits. Hes going to ruin our lives! I am moving to Canada.

    October 10, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  22. DandyStyker

    This illustrates the fundamental problem with Romney - the guy is a pathological liar. He will literally change on a dime, saying one thing one minute and the opposite thing the next minute. It makes it impossible to tell what Romney would *actually* do, if he's elected president.

    To see just how audaciously Romney lies, consider that Romney was asked if he would support of a dangerous proposal, commonly called a “personhood amendment,” that could potentially ban common forms of contraception like the birth control pill, as well as prevent a pregnant woman experiencing complications that threaten her life or health to obtain safe abortion care. Said Romney, “absolutely.” [Concord Monitor, 11/9/11].

    So, Romney *has*affirmed some of the most draconian anti-abortion legislation out there. But Mr. Etch-a-sketch is trying hard to look “moderate,” (after having kowtowed to the radical right wing in order to win the Republicon nomination) so now he’s lying about his previous support for radical anti-abortion legislation.

    October 10, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  23. Frank

    Romney is pandering to the radical right. Its amazing to me so many so called conservatives are radically pro life over a fetus and anti anything to help the poor after a baby is born. And they're not very pro life when it comes to taking care of our veteran's whose lives they have taken and blood they have spilled in the Middle East. The way our vets are treated its no wonder they are committing suicide. And what is being done, a very expensive study to see if fish oil will help. How crazy does this have to get before we, the people, take care of it.

    October 10, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  24. moe beta

    Obama definetly has my vote

    October 10, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  25. andysbasura

    Of course he's pro life–see how many kids he has? put a cap on it Romney!

    October 10, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
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