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 President Barack Obama rescinded it shortly after taking office in 2009.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

    Folks, How could ANYONE - even a dedicated "Konservative" - be in anyways UN-comfortable with the many faces of Teflon Ro-Money ? ? ?

    Talk about LUDICROUS : This man is the definitive example of same ! ! !

    However, it is NOT him that worries me - NOT in the least -

    It is that such as he could even stand a REMOTE Chance of being elected, let alone a POSSIBLE one ! ! !

    October 10, 2012 05:22 am at 5:22 am |
  2. Funk

    No matter, Tomorrow he'll have a 180° Flip Flop by next week, and the Average low-IQ voting Yokel will suck him up, dry.

    October 10, 2012 05:25 am at 5:25 am |
  3. Doug

    Any one who would vote for Romney is a fool... He changes his mind on every issue we have no idea what we would get..
    And Ryan is downright scary...

    October 10, 2012 05:27 am at 5:27 am |
  4. NameKeith A. Sillsbury

    Abortion is a necessity period. You can't have Abortion illegal And do away with welfare. You can have 1 or the other. You either Let the fetus live And pay to have it from a child To an adult Or You pay to stop it before it becomes life. 1 or the other you can't have it both ways.

    October 10, 2012 05:27 am at 5:27 am |
  5. Name ms taxpayer here.

    Why should government pay for careless sex?

    October 10, 2012 05:28 am at 5:28 am |
  6. Jason

    Your abortion as birth control will not be paid for by my tax dollars. You want an abortion, you pay for it.

    October 10, 2012 05:30 am at 5:30 am |
  7. allenwoll

    We need to recall the U S Electorate - Even possibly have them detained for investigation (sanity hearing).

    October 10, 2012 05:31 am at 5:31 am |
  8. cicName

    Dem's strategy in the debate is going to be in play just shut up and watch this guy, romney put his own foot in his mouth.
    That was what they hoped for during the debate but he escaped the snare.

    October 10, 2012 05:31 am at 5:31 am |
  9. Daystar

    you can not be trusted, you are a liar and i refuse to listen to anything you and ryan say. my vote goes to the current President !!!

    October 10, 2012 05:31 am at 5:31 am |
  10. Guest

    "The State Department says it never concluded that an attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya was simply a protest gone awry, a statement that places the Obama administration's own foreign policy arm in sync with Republicans."


    October 10, 2012 05:34 am at 5:34 am |
  11. This guy is full of B.S.

    This guy is the worst case, of I will tell you what you want to hear. To Liberals he says he says he will think with an open mind, to conservatives he says he will ban whatever they want him too. This guy should be a car salesmen.

    October 10, 2012 05:36 am at 5:36 am |
  12. I was voting for Mitt

    I was voting for Mitt, but now I am not sure anymore. He changes his mind so much, and tells people what he wants to hear, that i don't trust him.

    October 10, 2012 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  13. jerome

    flip , wait for it . wait for it. wait for it. flop!!!

    October 10, 2012 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  14. Margeaux

    No woman in her right mind would support this guy. He won't help you when you have a big choice to make. He won't help you if you keep your baby. What right does HE have to tell you anything. Glue mum won't be a stand alone news story if this guy gets his way!

    October 10, 2012 05:39 am at 5:39 am |
  15. Jose

    Flop flop and more bs, women do not trust this man. No one should trust this man. He is an insult to the integrity of the office through his lies.

    October 10, 2012 05:39 am at 5:39 am |
  16. InsanityIntheUSA

    Just proves these religious nutjobs should never run for office.

    Please remove the Church from the State, it is ruining the world.

    October 10, 2012 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
  17. Harleigh Kiffer

    Carrying water for Obama. It appears that there is only one opinion acceptable on the subject in this country and anyone that does not fall in line is a problem.

    October 10, 2012 05:42 am at 5:42 am |
  18. Tim

    Proverbs 12:22 Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.
    The religious right might want to rethink their choice if they truly are for God. This man is beyond a liar. There is no truth in him. Why would you vote for a Cult funding/believing man anyway? Is his master your's too?

    October 10, 2012 05:44 am at 5:44 am |
  19. Bart

    Obama calling Romney as untrustworthy is like "The pot calling the kettle black". Note to Obama: This is NOT a racist statement. Obama should release his travel and education records before making this statement. Maybe even his juvenile records for marijuana use.

    October 10, 2012 05:45 am at 5:45 am |
  20. Jim

    Really CNN? Obama is president..the economy sucks, gas is near 4 dollars a gallon..there is a cover up in the administration regarding lybia and so on, and all you guys ever talk about is Romney, this is officially the last time I go to CNN. I use you guys for but now I will not even do that, CNN should be ashamed of themselves.

    October 10, 2012 05:48 am at 5:48 am |
  21. Sade

    Romney's message is very clear.

    October 10, 2012 05:48 am at 5:48 am |
  22. annette

    mitts sudden changes only tells me that he is desparate for votes and will now say anything and turn around everything he was against for votes. this man cannot be trusted. once he gets elected he will be against it all again.

    October 10, 2012 05:50 am at 5:50 am |
  23. these2lanes

    The President, whoever he may be, would do well to leave his religious views out of his policy making and leave US citizens to make their own choices. Romney will spread his Mormon beliefs through US legislation. This is not what we want.

    October 10, 2012 05:54 am at 5:54 am |
  24. Malicide

    That sounds about right. I certainly wouldn't expect anything different from Mr. Romney, or any Republican really. The Republican party is far to the extreme right of just about any issue, and has been since before Reagan. Full of religious zealots who seek only to curb basic freedoms that most Americans have come to enjoy. Freedom FROM religion being the most basic, in my opinion. In this matter, the religious right is , for the most part really , no different than Al Queda, accept without the bombings and beheadings. The Republican loathing of poor and ethnic Americans trying to survive in their world of greed and corruption is just icing on their cake. We'll of course eat it, cuz who doesn't love cake?

    October 10, 2012 05:54 am at 5:54 am |
  25. Jennifer P.

    I consider Romney's stance on denying federal funding of abortions as a somewhat minor positive change, albeit a partisan presidential back-and-forth between administrations. Honestly, I would have expected more on his pro-life agenda. Why don't we start with making adoption within the States easier for couples who cannot conceive naturally?

    October 10, 2012 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
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