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 President Barack Obama rescinded it shortly after taking office in 2009.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

    When I saw the title "Romney abortion comment draws Democratic criticism", I literally had no idea what to expect to read in the article. I thought that Romney could be taking a tough stance on abortion. Or that he may now be pro-choice, once again. That, in a nutshell, is his problem. You just have no idea what he believes in and whom he represents.

    October 10, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. EB

    Sad to say this, and completely unfathomable to me - but young, poor, uneducated women are using abortions as birth control. The problem would probably be non-existent if these same girls had access to proper education and medical care which included birth control. Not all are minorities.

    October 10, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  3. DustyOnes

    Right on Romney.

    October 10, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. spent

    Good: It is about time someone has the fortitude to speak out against the killing of children. Abortion is a big business and if you do not think so, you are living in la la land. I thought the liberal trait was against "big business."

    October 10, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  5. Tuckersdad

    Romney is for anything – OH ! – and against anything too ! ( Almost forgot)

    October 10, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  6. Obama Mama

    @amieh- Romney's sky in The Cayman's is

    October 10, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  7. norhetoric

    Hey Obama Mama! The GOPeople don't care about the facts. Which is one reason why I'll never vote Republican again. Won't get fooled again!

    October 10, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  8. MikeB

    How can Obama ethically challenge 'right to life' when he support killing viable fetus from botched abortions?

    October 10, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. Really?

    Ameih – Do you plan on giving to the welfare system to help fund the lives of unwanted children? Or how about adopting one of them even when they came from a crack addicted mother? If your answer is yes, then God bless you otherwise stay out of other women's bodies and souls. This country needs to keep Church and State separate.

    October 10, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  10. skarphace

    The question regarding abortion is not whether it is moral or not.

    The question is whether the government should decide whether or not a woman should have an abortion or not.

    If you who call yourselves conservatives want the government to decide whether or not a woman should have an abortion, then you will not have a reason to complain if the government ever makes a decision like China and starts forcing women to have abortions.

    Is this what you really want, conservatives? The government deciding whether or not your wife or daughter has an abortion or not? Be careful what you wish for. You may just get it.

    October 10, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  11. Peace

    In the coming remaining debates if people will be fooled again by Romney and still take his words, they deserve not to vote. Voting is not only picking the name, it is also about what you have heard from the candidate, whether they are true or not by making the comparison between old and new talk. We call it "reasoning"!

    October 10, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  12. Randy

    I was raped when I was 12 years old. I didn't become pregnant but could have. Unless you've been there, you could not imagine how traumatizing this was, but to compound this by being forced to endure a pregnancy would have been unbearable. How could any decent human being expect a child to carry a pregnancy by a monster? How many "pro-lifers" have adopted children? Would they take a child produced by rape? The country is full of unwanted children in foster care. Why aren't the "pro-lifers" adopting them?

    October 10, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Romney apparently changes his positions on important issues at the drop of a hat, professing whatever he thinks will win votes (first in the primaries and now in the general elction). The fact is that we have no idea what he'll do if he wins the presidency. At least we know where Obama stands.

    October 10, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  14. Third party

    This clown is unbelievable, he will say anything to become president.

    October 10, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  15. IhateBurkas

    I studied it in some depth and concluded I simply could not sign on to take human life. I vetoed that bill."
    So does that mean you are also against the death penalty? Practicing on the parts of the Bible you like or agree with is hypocrisy Mr. Romney.

    October 10, 2012 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  16. janer52

    while i would never agree with using abortion as a means of birth control, it is a woman's CHOICE. there should be no boundaries (rape only, mother's life in jeopardy, etc). and as a reminder to all of you right wing nuts, NO ONE is for abortion. we are for choice when that painful decision is made. keep it safe because women will have them regardless if it is legal or not. romney and all of his tea party/religious extremists will inflict their extremist views on all of us. JUST SAY NO TO ROMNEY/RYAN if you want to remain free.

    October 10, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  17. greg the progressive


    C'mon liberal CNN is that the best you can do? How about when Obama stated he was against gay marriage, but then changed his mind and is now for it...that was okay I guess? People change their minds. Get over it.


    There is a major diffference here, Mitt changed his mind one day when speaking in front of some people, but as soon as he got off stage, his campaign said he did not mean what he said. So really the question is, did Mitt really change his mind and if he has, where exactly is mind today.

    October 10, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  18. gmat74

    All of religion outside of the Mormon beliefs will go to hell. This is based upon documentation and open dialog with Mormon church members. A church which places greater value on forged documents than the pre dated constitution of the U.S.A. I would say all non Mormon voters should consider their GOD when voting to promote and follow laws and a governing system directed by a worshiper of a false prophet. If any true religious man believes his God will forgive this support of false prophets you gave towards a secular leader of his land then you are misled. You will be guilty of worshipping a false prophet and spend eternity in hell with him.

    October 10, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  19. PA86

    To answer the question posed by QS: "Why do Romney and his team continue to think this strategy works? They must really think Americans are that stupid to keep falling for this and not see through it"

    That's exactly it. They are hoping there are enough stupid Americans who are not really aware of what he has said before and are only really tuning in now to hear him this month, that will vote for him. They are hoping to reach the uninformed and fool them.

    October 10, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  20. ART

    Boy,may I suggest to all child baring age women to get their hangers ready. Seriously how can anyone debate some one who agrees with every possible side of any issue, can someone please tell me does Romney have a backbone

    October 10, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  21. Nicole

    Anyone who thinks women use abortion as birth control is a fool. I'm not saying there aren't any women out there who have done this too frequently or had an abortion out of pure irresponsibility. But abortions are expensive, emotionally difficult, and painful. I want to see the statistics on how many women have had more than one abortion. I don't believe for a second that Sita worked in an abortion clinic or she would know that abortions are not federally funded. He or she is just trying to act like they did to spew this view that all these women are using abortion as birth control.

    October 10, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Mitt is at it again yall.. Now he's changed his stance on abortion and says it will not be part of his agenda..... What BULL Crap. This man will say anything to try to get his lying, flip-floping behind into office. We all know that he says this, but if he gets into office trust and believe this will come up! I'm sick of this fool flip-flopping and my goodness how stupid to you think we are. We all know what you are doing. And this is who some people want in office...... my goodness wake up people.

    October 10, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  23. weasel

    Yes he should have clearly stated how he intends to implement the Democratic process of killing defenseless babies. He clearly should have shown the process from conception to its first cry. Also the instruments he would use like picks, guns, hammers, scalpels, poisons, etc. etc.

    October 10, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  24. springthecat

    Only the ignorant call Planned Parenthood abortion advocates

    October 10, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  25. Descartes

    Why is it that instead of addressing the points an article raises, Republicans just dismiss the source as biased. Ad Hominem, if you care so much about debates you might want to brush up on some elementary logic. Party squabbles are pathetic, time to throw out both parties and get rid of the FPTP system.

    October 10, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
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