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 President Barack Obama rescinded it shortly after taking office in 2009.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. gmat74

    Now Mr s ays he determine when a fetus isn't feeling pain and can appropriately be aborted. So Mr supports abortion or not he has said he will overturn R v W. Is this guy going to have more executive orders than GWB. Is this an indication on just how he will manipulate our peoples choices like the last wealthy GWB. He believes when elected to office he only represents those who helped him block voter laws and move polling stations at the last minute. MR doesn't have the bawls to run this country he can't make up his mind on anything. MR is FOR ABORTION OF NON FEELING UNBORN FETUS. This is how most abortion supporters feel no different, MR supports abortion he just wants to be the devils advocate that titles the new world law. MR IS SAYING HE SUPPORTS ABORTION TO ABORT HIS LAST CLAIM OF ABORTING R v W AND ABORT catholic values with MORMON. MORMONS DO EVERTHING MORE GODLY.

    October 10, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  2. Obama Mama

    @Mark I believe the wars and Bush tax cuts (which were not paid for in the Bush and now Obama admin.) that the congress won't let us end is the trillions in the deficit not any policies by Obama.

    October 10, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  3. Sita Adams

    While working at an abortion clinic one thing I learned is that there are women who use abortion as birth control. Also, that we as tax payers pay for it and the bill isn't cheap. It's about $800-$1200. Thus, I wouldn't disagree with Romney on the fact that yeah, we should cut back on aid for abortions, perhaps limit it to one per person. I don't understand things can happen, however, people must understand that this is also a business and that they do have quotas to meet.

    October 10, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  4. Obama Mama

    @suni- OBAMA/BIDEN 2012- Fact democrats always pay off the republican wars and debt.

    October 10, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  5. amieh

    so what, if he said the sky was blue, the democrats would have an issue withit.

    October 10, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  6. Jax Wolff

    There is no such thing as "no abortions", only safe and unsafe.

    October 10, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  7. palusko996769

    Oh well... the pro-choice and pro-individual mandate Romney has etch-a-sketched himself within a few years into a pro-life, no-mandate Romney. I would call it an evolution of Mitt Romney, but not too many conservatives believe in it.

    October 10, 2012 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  8. QS

    Why do Romney and his team continue to think this strategy works?

    Romney says one thing, which contradicts what he has run on in the past, then his campaign spokespeople come out right afterwards and say what Romney REALLY meant....which usually is more in line with what his positions were throughout the primaries.

    They must really think Americans are that stupid to keep falling for this and not see through it. It's this strategy of lying, dishonesty and flip-flopping that makes it so easy for Romney to blend in to any issue, talking point or debate like the political chameleon he is.

    Why do people believe or trust this man who has not said one honest word during this entire campaign....well, except for those times he's caught on video telling people what he really thinks of Americans!

    October 10, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  9. Agrav8td

    You can't believe ANY politican about anything. You people who think Obama or any candidate cares so much about you, think again. Big business utimately runs this country. I am not voting for someone solely based on their stance on abortion. My husband & I would like to retire someday and my kids would like to have good paying jobs and their own homes someday, that's how I'm voting.

    October 10, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  10. Obama Mama

    @Sita abortions are not federally funded. Go to the planned parenthood site. They are prohibited by law to pay for abortions.

    October 10, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  11. amieh

    Sita, I agree with you, abortions should only be used only in extreme emergencies, ie if Rape, mothers life is in danger and so forth. NOT for birth control.

    October 10, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  12. yogi

    I see very few comments on the Frontline show that was aired last night on PBS. The bishop wants to establish the kingdom on earth: The Mormon belief system. That is scary and very creepy concept, and anyone with some degree of sanity should run away from Romney, let alone of even thinking of voting for him.

    October 10, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  13. Dave

    You dont want man to gave a say in your pregnancy but you want man to pay for it

    October 10, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  14. Obama Mama

    God or Jesus did not write the bible, men 200 years after he lived did. God did not write the mormon book, a man professing to be a prophet did. Books written by MEN not Gods. And even the books written by men were their selections, not by God.

    October 10, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  15. Patchygroundfog

    NEWS UPDATE: All registered Republicans have been sent a memo that reads: "Dear faithful members of the GOP, this confidential note is to let you know presidential candidate Mitt Romney will be publicly reversing his position on several draconian GOP policy positions fully embraced by the right that are keeping him from gaining traction with more moderate and liberal independent voters. DO NOT BE CONCERNED - HE'S COMPLETELY FAKING IT!! And we will steal the election with the help of these "Mitt-Flops." The national media won't seriously challenge our obviously cynical and deceitful strategy because of an ingrained shallowness in their reportage, and Mitt will quickly move back to the far right and become his real self on Nov. 7 - we'll start trickling down like it's 1982. Enjoy the show as Mitt dupes the gullible and stupid independents and undecideds into thinking he's compassionately conservative. Watch a master corporate raider dismantle the legitimate political process using his charming brand of smiling serial dishonesty and sell it for parts, aided by "reporters" who think they're in the entertainment business and allow the governor to reinvent himself after slithering gleefully around a couple of weak questions. Or like that Andrew Sullivan house plant, they'll wring their hands for a bit and then end up blaming Obama. Mitt-Flops! It's political genius! Anyway, thanks for understanding and we'll you soon in the White House. Insincerely yours (haha!), Mitt and his GOP string pullers."

    October 10, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  16. postedbygeorge

    Romney is beginning to emit the odor of the other "t" party, tali-ban.

    October 10, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  17. DougW

    The point is that 'legislation' has virtually nothing to do with the issue being discussed. This is, and has always been about the appointing of Supreme Court Justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to pass laws outlawing all abortions. So, what Romney is doing is being disingenuous, hoping voters won't realize that he isn't telling them anything. If he is elected, abortion will be outlawed in Texas, Arizona, Mississippi, Alabama, and probably a dozen other states. You can argue about which candidates policy will result in a better economy, but there is absolutely no argument about what will happen to abortion laws in this country if Mitt Romney is elected. Abortions will be illegal in many places.

    October 10, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  18. Newme1

    Mitt will just say anything. It is disgusting how he lies and flip flops all over the place on every issue. Worse than that he is a freakin cry baby. I don't blame the President for letting Mitt perform during the debates, sometimes you just got to let a fool be a fool. What a total phony!

    October 10, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  19. The Dude

    Romney made millions from abortion. Everyday he reminds me more and more of Martin Sheens Character in "The Dead Zone"

    October 10, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  20. nc1965

    Minorities (especially black people)
    With Romney as President, leave your rights in your head. Because they will only be a dream. And the revised Jim Crow laws will make certain of that.

    With Romney as President get used to big government spying into your uterus

    With Romney as President be ready to show your papers. Because this Country will be a police state and you will be the target.

    White men
    With Romney as President be ready to raise another man's baby, possibly by a black man.If your wife, daughter or loved one gets raped and becomes pregnant, by law she will be forced to have the baby.

    With Romney as President you'd better make peace with God. Because some of you will die giving birth. Because your bodies will not be mature enough to carry a baby to term. And just think of the ones traumatized for life (that survived the pregnancy) from the constant reminder of the father, especially if a rape caused the conception.

    October 10, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  21. Obama Mama

    @Agrav8ed- Your retirement fund known as Social Security was plundered the most by Ronald Reagan, it is not broke, the government pilfered it. Where are all those jobs the wealthy would create by getting the Bush tax cuts?

    October 10, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  22. Jess Sayin

    Thanks @Jax Wolff, for pointing out the actual choices: unsafe, illegal abortions which put the woman's life at risk (while padding the pockets of the back-alley butchers with hangers) OR clean,safe abortions, which allow the woman to get pregnant at another time.

    October 10, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  23. ViK100

    I agree with Romney Wholeheartedly!! I appalud his courage! Say NO to killing babies!!

    October 10, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  24. gmat74

    How many times can you change your mind once you have dedicated to war?
    How positive must one be when involved with decision making involving the people he's sworn to protect but openly dispises 47% of them?
    Who will suffer most if trickle down economics does not work again?
    Do wealthy industry leaders suffer if the government dollars they have been given to properly rebuild are abused and wasted early only for the wealthy to handle and manipulate?
    Where are all the Russian and Chinese terrorists we are supposed to be looking out for

    October 10, 2012 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  25. 0704American

    I said it before and I will say it again. Only a dingle berry would vote for Romney.

    October 10, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
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