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 President Barack Obama rescinded it shortly after taking office in 2009.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

    For those of you who are wondering how people can stand Romney, look no further then Obama's record. His record doesn't look great.

    October 10, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  2. e

    Wow, what a lying POS. Do not let him pretend he has changed his stance, he is pandering to try to get votes, and will 100% follow the path of the rest of the Republican Party, which has proven to be extreme in the laws they pass denying women rights over their own internal organs.

    October 10, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  3. pascal

    this guy is just bad for america and women all over the world.

    October 10, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  4. Alina77

    I am pro -life but also down to earth and reality. I have two girls and though I cant protect them from doing stupid things in their life's because they will do it anyway, but at least I can protect their life's from the danger of bunch of men in the WH.... People will do it,, in the basements by some students, women will die if they wont be provided qualified care, women DO HAVE THE right to do what they think is right for them....

    October 10, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  5. jkINC

    The primary difference between a Democrat and Republican is the Democrats want into our wallets but stay out of our personal lives and the Republicans want to stay out of our wallets but invade our personal lives. We need a Dempublican party that stays out of our wallets and our personal lives.

    October 10, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  6. Sam

    The number of recorded abortions in the US has crossed 50 million. Thats what the 'right to choose' has done...Killed 50 million babies. Putting your choice ahead of a new life is radical and a bad example for this generation and the generations to come.

    October 10, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  7. Scarface86

    Johan: Please spare me the indignation of Romney's political double speak. The President is the master of it, except when he cannot use a teleprompter.

    October 10, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  8. Peter

    So we now know Romney is obviously eager to legislate from the bench. Who knows where that will end!

    October 10, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  9. lefty avenger

    Mitt is a top 1% aristocratic corporate oligarchy outsourcing twit. It is beyond all comprehension that anyone believes or trusts this Mormon Wacko. Not Saying that Obama is a great president but Mitt? From the Frying pan into the fire!

    October 10, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  10. Political Agnostic

    Is the any issue rhat Romney doesn't talk out of boh sides of his mouth about? He is now trying to appeal to the moderates of the country after saying all year long how conservative he is and how mush he agrees with the most radical members of the Republican party. Given this latest turn how can he be trusted to stand on anything he says?

    October 10, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  11. Lar5

    Why all this useless discussion? It's typical Romney!
    Romney was for abortion rights before he was against them and now is for them but by tomorrow will be against them. Get it! It's so simple even a flip flopper would understand.

    October 10, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  12. paintpaintpaint

    "Mitt Romney is proudly pro-life, and he will be a pro-life president," Andrea Saul said in a statement." Except when he ran in Massachusetts, where he told us he was Pro Choice. Pants on Fire, Romney! AGAIN! How can anyone believe ANTHING you say? 47% – people who just want to 'take' – or "I care about poor people!" WHO are you, Romney?

    October 10, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  13. Anonymous

    It no different then Obama changeing his stand on Marriage being between an man and a woman. Obama changes is opions like most people change their underwear!!!!

    October 10, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  14. CarolinaKate

    I won't even think about voting for any Republican until they get their personal beliefs and opinions out of my uterus!

    October 10, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  15. Nelle

    I really don't get how you can believe every "fact" fed to you from the media without taking a few minutes to look into the story yourself. Also, learn how to spell.

    October 10, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  16. Don Canard

    sniff. boo hoo, this collection of 64 cells was my baby. boo hoo. Our preacher told me God wants me to have rainbows and unicorns and obey my husband. And give him 10% of our earnings. And of course we expect to spread our infantilization until everyone's as incompetent as we are.

    October 10, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  17. Mittens Rmoney

    I like to make sure I have every side of every issue covered. Then, when I'm in a debate I can forcefully say anything I want, smile into the camera, and con enough people into voting for me.

    October 10, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  18. allens

    if you believe in the great deceiver, he is running on the gop ticket. he is a serial liar and will say anything to get the ultimate power. take a good look

    October 10, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  19. teb0504

    Too many use abortion as birth control! Women should not be permitted to have more than one abortion. I also don't feel like my tax dollars should go towards abortions. If you are old enough to have sex, you are old enough to pay for it if you chose abortion.

    October 10, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  20. G8r

    Soooo, the result of anti-abortion policies is to impose taxes on all of us to pay the costs of educating these children presently being aborted. A K-12 education costs us about $10,000 per year per child or $130,000 just to get them through high school. Multiply that figure times 1.3 million (the number of abortions annually) and you start talking serious money to subsidize religious dogma. That cost is irrefutable. The additional costs of law enforcement, incarceration, and to victims of crime for the actions of of children brought into this world unwanted, and all too often resented, is all on top of that. Conservatives become quite Liberal when it comes to spending taxpayer money to support their religious views

    October 10, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  21. Dan

    Vote for Mitt and Paul, vote early and often, we need to put these scarlet women back in their place. I agree with Mitt's supporters, women should learn to walk five paces behind her man and not speak unless spoken to. I can only assume that all men are tired of hearing about equal pay and benefits for doing the same job, who cares if a woman is more educated and dedicated to her job. After all she only got the job in the first place because of hiring quotas, lets get this country back to where it belongs, like it was in the fifties when women knew their place. Vote Mitt and keep her happy, after all it is for her own good. How dare that they think that they should have a say in what they can do with their own bodies.

    October 10, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  22. Jo

    Romney personally has believed in pro-life, but he allowed Mass. existing pro-choice laws to be in place because that seemed to be the will of the Mass. In any case, I'm glad he's pro-life and willing to protect life in the womb. Others might say he's flipflopped, but if you look at Obama and how he ran for believing in marriage as one man and woman before election and now supporting same-sex marriage, this is one huge flip flop to me! Also, why does Planned Parenthood get to run political ads that support one party when it receives millions from the federal government?! How do we know it's not using tax money to pay for these ads when it's just a matter of shifting numbers in their books! Sounds corrupt and very shady.

    October 10, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  23. Doug

    I agree with Romney that government money should not be used on abortions, I do support a woman"s choice and the choice of taxpayers not to fund something that is against their belief system, I know Democrats hate it but we have freedom of religion in America still, 4 more of Obama and that will be history.

    I support gay marriage, but I know that Democrats want to force Christian churches to marry gay people or be shut down through fines and other government mandated punishment. Obama said he wants to punish his enemies and those enemies are all Americans who don't support his Statism.

    October 10, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  24. wjmccartan

    If Mitt thinks that it is the responsibility of government to decide what a woman can and can't do with their own bodies, then perhaps he can set up a government program to feed, house and clothe these children, and ensure funds are available for their education. I myself don't need to find a descision for this issue as I'm not a female, and wouldn't want to impose laws that take away womens right to choose. The issue was dealt with four decades ago, let it be, don't play with an issue as serious as this for votes Mittens.

    Lucid One

    October 10, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  25. Josh D

    They need to add another presidential debate before election so Romney can debate himself on all the issues. need to set up four podiums so all the Romney's get a fair hearing....Be interesting to see who interrupts who...

    October 10, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
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