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 President Barack Obama rescinded it shortly after taking office in 2009.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

    No one like's abortion, but it should be left up to the woman. If they put all their PAC money into feeding the children that they don't want aborted and give all proper healthcare it would be money better spent. They don't want abortions but they don't want to take care of them after they are born.

    October 10, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  2. Socrates

    What did you do know, Mitt? Can you keep your mouth shut until you become president, please?

    October 10, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  3. johnmenacherjr

    And once again I ask what does this guy stand for Everything? anything??? It changes daily to suit his own needs,man and you talk about the president! I have no idea what Romney is for or against or even what he has planned. All I know is he has stories and a good stage presence. The guy and Ryan are not for this american at all.

    October 10, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  4. Socrates

    This guy is diabolic.

    October 10, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  5. barbarianofgor

    Flip Flop Flip Flop
    Magic Etch a Sketch

    He'll say whatever he thinks will get him votes when he needs to.

    But don't think for a second he'll follow up on any of this, save that 47% speech to rich elites.

    October 10, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  6. Romney > obama

    Romney is just undoing what obama did on his first day - release $500M for government funded abortions–overseas. Why does the government need to fund abortion, and abortion overseas?

    October 10, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. pcalif

    This is amazing. Romney has got to be looked at in light of his age. Every day he seems to be reading from somethng different and the public seems to think this is a stragegy. We might want to reconsider and look at his age and the stress he is under. More and more he seems to be on robo.

    October 10, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  8. lepke

    There are many people who cannot or afford birth control and abortion, but would use it if it is available. Federal support of planned parenthood clinics which provide care is important to prevent or abort unwanted pregnancies. There will be a lots of unwanted babies, unwanted mothers, and misery if abortion is not an option. Does not matter what Mr. Romney thinks as a private person. He needs to be able to see beyond his believes. Perhaps if he considers it as an investment. Society does not have to pay; welfare, healthcare, foster care, prison facilities stemmed from the problem of unwanted pregnancies.

    October 10, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  9. Nobama

    With all you people saying Romney is a liar, just keep in mind Obama is the liar. There was a time in my life when I was OK with abortion and now I am not, I am not a flip flopper I just changed my view. Oh and keep this in mind, government agency abortions pretty much come from the 47% who will only vote for Obama so this comment will make no difference to most women who are for Romney.

    October 10, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  10. joe

    Here we go again. The liberal media sees their lapdog Obama trsailing in the polls so they try to make a non-issue comment into a big deal.

    October 10, 2012 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. roadrunner2

    So the Republican party cries foul on the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act (yes, this bill was NEVER called Obamacare. That was an informal name given by the Repubs in hopes of it sounding like a 4 letter word). They cry foul on the law because they say its the government deciding treatment. That is its foul unless the medical treatment they want to control is their idea!!!! If science can find a way to separate an embryo from a women's uterus at the moment of conception so that the embryo can thrive on its own until full term , then by all means. Until then, an embryo is part of the woman who conceived and therefor a medical concern that should never be legislated. Period.

    October 10, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  12. Jennifer

    KEEP MY UTERUS OUT OF THE POLITICS!! WHY IS THIS SO DIFFICULT?? And by the way, the job problems didn't begin with Obama – it started with Bush and Obama inherited that mess. Why can't you people check your facts? Just because you don't like Obama either because he is a Democrat or a different race doesn't mean he is responsible for everything YOU don't like that is happening. Do you have any idea how many job bills that Obama has proposed Republicans have shot down?? LOOK IT UP. Do you have any idea who controls the gas prices? NOT the President. Look stuff up before you start sounding ignorant. Good grief.

    October 10, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  13. James AL

    Romney is such a shifter-and-chief that who on the planet can believe him. No one really knows what he believes and he tries to change every other week. Please let this election be done!

    Obama/Biden 2012

    October 10, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  14. Lee Oates

    Only in America would a man be declared a "Winner" in a debate where he lied 27 times to the public. Anyone stupid enough to vote for such a liar, deserves the result. The real issue in this election is that we have a "black" man in office and the majority of whites can't handle it.

    October 10, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  15. Romney > obama

    BTW, this board is full of lies. I'm surprised the democrats find the need to lie in order to give their weak candidate a chance. Romney is against abortion EXCEPT in the case of rape, incest and the mother's life is in danger.

    If you read the article, he isn't changing any laws.... just undoing obama's release of $500M for government funded abortions overseas. That is a good place to cut unneeded government spending and doesn't affect 'women's body'.

    October 10, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  16. Paula

    You know, THIS is why everyone still feels that they don't know Romney. Every time you THINK you know him, he changes his stance on an issue. Dude, stay in one spot for a while, will ya!

    October 10, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  17. solex

    I always find it galling to hear the repubs screaming about how they want small government and to keep government out of our lives – except when it comes to things like choice, who you can marry, and prayer in school (as long as it is NOT to Buddah or Alah).

    I wish people would figure out that the ONLY reason that the GOP wants small government is to eliminate oversight and regulation of business so they can steal our money and use it as pass line bets on Wall Street.

    October 10, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  18. Everette

    Romney is a pandering flip flopper on every issue . The buck stops Oct. 16 after the next debate , because now Romney has to try those lies directly in front of the 47% he despies behind closed doors . Early voting starts Oct 18th in Nc. Romney can cancel it !!!!!!!!

    October 10, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  19. Mttyd2

    Typical republican thinking....Overly concerned about life inside a womb but as soon as the baby is born, they don't want to have anything to do with it.

    October 10, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  20. Russ

    Romney is trying to chip off a few of Obama's women voters and thereby sway the vote in battleground states. WOMEN, don't fall for it. ROMNEY IS NOT A WOMAN'S FRIEND!

    October 10, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  21. Nicole

    Duh....he is neither for, nor against abortions! He just doesn't think that the government should pay for them! My goodness, when my mom needed chemo I didn't expect the government to pay for it! You all need to grow brains!

    October 10, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  22. Russ

    Romney has no core values, or at least any he wouldn't trade for a vote. Here we are less than a month from the election and people still don't know who he is.

    October 10, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  23. Naana

    If you know you can't create a human being, DO NOT ABORT babies simple!. If due to some health reasons, you need to abort a baby to save your life, DO NOT ABORT YOUR BABY. If God wants to keep you alive, trust me he would, If God wants to keep you the mother or both of you alive, he would. Just leave everything in God's hand.

    October 10, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. JudeM

    Romney only cares about you until you are born, then you become part of that pesky 47%.

    October 10, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  25. Joe Bernis

    abortion is killing!!! Stop calling the unborn child an "it." They are a person. And NO one has the right to decide if they should live or die.

    Abortion is cruel. Killing an unborne childe who can not take up for themselves. How mean is that?

    October 10, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
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