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 President Barack Obama rescinded it shortly after taking office in 2009.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

    Defend the defenseless! Go Romney!

    October 10, 2012 03:43 am at 3:43 am |
  2. Jose

    You know, I wish I cold be a Republican. Seems sensible enough. But then you see these guy that suck up to the big money corporations and then lower themselves to get religious right votes. What is left of 'sensible' is GONE. I mean, Democrats cant get organized to do squat, but the Republicans, with their recent attempt to stop voters, and this kind of hoo haa. I mean, HOW can I support a party that wont allow abortion in case of rape?

    Also, didn't wall street cause the economic crash? Why are they trying to elect a wall street millionaire? To FIX the economy? Trust this guy on taxes? He did everything he COULD to not pay any himself. Ask yourself, do you know anyone personally with offshore accounts? This guy is not an American. He is an international businessman. Trust him at your own risk. I have my beef with Obama, but boring debates aside, hes not a liar or a thief.

    October 10, 2012 03:44 am at 3:44 am |
  3. BCInNV

    Say no to Bush the Third!!! Obama for 2012!

    October 10, 2012 03:46 am at 3:46 am |
  4. Nick

    We love to say free country and freedom of speech and we are free to raise our family's the way we want and with whatever beliefs we want – but when it comes down to it he limits our freedom with one swoop of a pen...I don't understand how you can be prolife but support a war or you can be prolife but make it so not everyone can have health care. If you were serious about being prolife you would do everything in your power to extend life and the quality of it. The only thing he is pro is pro money in his account

    October 10, 2012 03:50 am at 3:50 am |
  5. floyd hoover

    Romney cant be trusted ,If elected he will favor the rich who contributed to his campaign this not only means flip flopping on abortion issues but most importantly replacing Obamacare with his version which will be catastrophic for the middle class who will be forced to pay whatever the rich refuse to pay ..I can see a future with the middle class and low income folks living on dogfood because healthcare is so costly while the 1 % ers live in luxury as usual at our expense

    October 10, 2012 03:52 am at 3:52 am |
  6. XxChR15xX

    Honestly as a guy my opinion on this may be a little skewed, yes women should have the right to choose what to do with their bodies, but honestly if you dont want children ladies KEEP YOUR DAMN LEGS CLOSED, or WRAP IT UP.

    October 10, 2012 03:53 am at 3:53 am |
  7. Michael

    Another day, another lie. I'll be glad when the election's over so that I won't have to hear Romney's flip-flopping anymore.

    October 10, 2012 03:54 am at 3:54 am |
  8. Andrew

    Anything Romney says is untrustworthy! Romney is nothing but a FlipFlopper!

    October 10, 2012 03:57 am at 3:57 am |
  9. craig

    In almost every issue, the question is always the same: Rmoney's position on this is?

    A. I am against the idea
    B. I am for the idea
    C. I don't have a position
    D. I used to be for the idea, but now I'm against the idea.
    E. I used to be against the idea, but now I'm saying that position was wrong.
    F. All of the above...depending upon who I'm speaking to at the moment.

    It's a simple test, and the correct answer will always be the same...for every question. HINT: I'ts F!

    October 10, 2012 03:59 am at 3:59 am |
  10. Dejavu65

    He we go again flip flop flip flop...Amazing all these blind people actually trying to convince themselves that Romney is good for them!!

    October 10, 2012 04:01 am at 4:01 am |
  11. Donpeter

    The decision is good?

    October 10, 2012 04:02 am at 4:02 am |
  12. arapikos

    This guy is like a said before, " you can paint a tiger, but you cannot change his spots" Or, "the wolf turned old and gray, his teeth fell out and his eyes grew dim, but his brain remained the same"–this is a Greek proverb

    October 10, 2012 04:02 am at 4:02 am |
  13. dev

    When will we stop calling abortion a woman's "right to choose" and simply call it what it is- a woman's right to murder.

    October 10, 2012 04:05 am at 4:05 am |
  14. stonesrule

    Romney, Romney, Romney....why isn't Libya, no jobs, poor economy and all the other Obama failures headlining your news?! Obama has been President for 4 years – without his teleprompter and staff to write and organize policies, position papers and speeches, Obama has nothing. The only eye-brow raising issue here is why so many people would even consider voting for this total loser. The Libya issue ALONE has exposed his foreign policy failure and blatant lies!! Obama and the Dems are banking on YOU to be dumb enough to give him another term....

    October 10, 2012 04:08 am at 4:08 am |
  15. skytag

    "Romney has said that he would nominate for any Supreme Court vacancies candidates who would support overturning Roe v. Wade."

    I have a real problem with a president who wants to pack the Supreme Court with justices based on how they would rule on something before it even comes before the court.

    October 10, 2012 04:13 am at 4:13 am |
  16. mariner v

    What is Romney's policy regarding anything? He will be for it if you are for it and against it if you are against it. When asked if he is against something that he said he was for, he will say that he was always against it before he was for it and that this is still true unless it needs to be untrue somewhere down the road. In other words Romney stands for nothing and wants you to fall for everything so he can get elected. If he does get elected then you will find out what he actually stands for, which is pretty much against everything that he stated that he was for and for everything that he basically stated that he was against. If you are not clear about what I just said just read it over and over and over until you are thoroughly confused and then you should pretty much get it.

    October 10, 2012 04:26 am at 4:26 am |
  17. dave greenfield

    When your campaign is out of bullets, all you have left is the abortion card(women) and next ,the race card( minorities). This tactic, as despicable as it is, may just work for Obama.

    October 10, 2012 04:26 am at 4:26 am |
  18. stan

    he flipped again? surprise surprise.

    This guy is a joke.

    He painted his face brown for univision people. That's a clear red flag.

    October 10, 2012 04:29 am at 4:29 am |
  19. BD70

    Face it matter what you say it is the right wing extremists running for president. You can't say what you are running on because no one will accept those policies except those on the far right.

    October 10, 2012 04:30 am at 4:30 am |
  20. Normal in NH

    You can actually smell the desperation of the Obama (and main-stream-media) campaign.

    October 10, 2012 04:33 am at 4:33 am |
  21. crazeelegs

    It is just another example how Mitt will flip on any issue depending on the time and the audience. Mitt will not give specifics for anyone to be able to judege what he will do. He has switched sides on the abortion issue. When he was running for the Senate, in a liberal state, he stated he was pro-choice. Senator Kennedy correctly pointed out that the Mitt was multiple choice. Mitt has flipped on nearly every issue at least once. How in the world can anyone trust him?

    October 10, 2012 04:33 am at 4:33 am |
  22. Riley

    Why do people freak out about issues that don't matter? Abortion isn't going anywhere and planned parenthood is fully capable of functioning on their own. Have sex people!

    October 10, 2012 04:34 am at 4:34 am |
  23. Amom

    I'll take my chances w/ Romney. With Obama there is no chance. Everytime Obama utters the words "women's rights" the words "dead babies" rings out loud and clear.

    October 10, 2012 04:34 am at 4:34 am |
  24. Randall

    I'm a Democrat and you guys are a complete joke of a "news" organization.

    October 10, 2012 04:35 am at 4:35 am |
  25. Abraham Medina

    FLIP-FLOP Romney, as usual. Anybody who wants a two-faced president?

    October 10, 2012 04:36 am at 4:36 am |
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