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 President Barack Obama rescinded it shortly after taking office in 2009.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

    Mormon Presidency. What would you expect? The Mormons are the right wing of the Religious Right.

    October 10, 2012 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  2. American666

    Mitt is for and against everything...............sounds like a bunch of nothing.

    October 10, 2012 06:01 am at 6:01 am |
  3. dubrats

    again...most americans don't care if you want to have an abortion....thats your business....just don't expect me to pay for it?......good.

    October 10, 2012 06:02 am at 6:02 am |
  4. Sid

    flip flop...flip flop...flip flop...tell me again what you want to hear?

    October 10, 2012 06:02 am at 6:02 am |
  5. Anonymous

    If a woman chooses to do this she should pay for it herself.Federal funds should not support this.

    October 10, 2012 06:02 am at 6:02 am |
  6. Sandra

    You know what I would love to see? Mitt Romney debate himself! This man is a beyond being a serial flip flopper. He's a damned weather vane!

    October 10, 2012 06:03 am at 6:03 am |
  7. josephavellino

    We can't trust Romney because he takes different positions on issues? Please tell me which President's words have been reliable, please. They say what they need to say to get the job and then they do what they want anyway.

    October 10, 2012 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
  8. sowhat

    Too bad Romney's mom didn't abort him.

    October 10, 2012 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
  9. Chris H

    Your Bias is showing CNN.

    October 10, 2012 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
  10. Joe Smith

    Obama and Romney have a few things in common, They both want to get people back to work and shift things around. Obama save the auto industrie and has don little to lower gas cost so the new better MPG cars would sell to save failure. Obama stood by and was behind firing thousands of teachers in his first four years and now stated he will hire a 100.000 new ones that will only be replacing the ones he fired who worked for several years that now have lost their homes and suffered the past few years as he knows he can hire two new ones for the coast of one teacher who had on several years. To fire a perosn who paid to go to college and works to pay for a home and send their children to school so he can hire two for the cost of one is wrong,Romney is looking to do the same as he will get rid of the unions so that some of the older workes will be out the door so two can be hired for the price of one. The medical care by both is nothing more as to cater to the insurance industries as Obama is making people pay the insurance companies for something they donot want and Romney is a con by giving a voucher that is a slip of paper and knows the insurance company will suck the last dime out of what the elderly have worked for as they both are covered in this area and as one stated if it dose not effect me what does it matter.

    October 10, 2012 06:04 am at 6:04 am |
  11. Mark

    Romney might be against abortion because he is afraid that he will be aborted on election day. This is just another one of Romneys' changes to his positions. He will say anything to get elected. That is not the kind of man we need in the White House.

    October 10, 2012 06:05 am at 6:05 am |
  12. LWJR

    LEFT WING CNN trying to elect Obama. These are headlines for brainwashing tv-idiots. keep it up and sieg heil.

    October 10, 2012 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  13. kaizer

    bada bing bada boom!! Gonna be a tight race.

    October 10, 2012 06:08 am at 6:08 am |
  14. Nsummersf6

    Now all of sudden this man said he is for abortion. He changes his position every week just to get votes. I would not trust him at all. Romney goes back and forth one minute its this, next its that, well want else will the american people here. More flip flopping of what he wants to do. Just image if he wins the white house he will tell the american this and then change his mind and then try to explain why he did this....he is full a crap.....a liar....I would not trust this man at I say don't believe the HYPE.....

    October 10, 2012 06:08 am at 6:08 am |
  15. William

    The honest truth is that NO ONE REALLY KNOWS what Romney thinks or believes!

    October 10, 2012 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  16. sohappy

    big deal, abortion is not the issue. The issue is that the U S is controlled by criminal banksters who are destroying the $

    October 10, 2012 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  17. Pro Life

    The Republican candidate has opposition to abortion, with the exception of cases of rape.

    This Republican is pro life.


    October 10, 2012 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
  18. lalaland

    Is there anything this man won't say to get elected?

    October 10, 2012 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
  19. Rob

    I remember when candidates were honest about their stance and their morals. I also remember when our press did a better job of catching candidates that lied. Romney saying what he thinks people want to hear in order to win the Presidency scares me and should scare every voter in the U.S.

    October 10, 2012 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
  20. jestanle

    Another example of CNN biased reporting. This is their headline? That mitt Romney would not let taxpayer funds be used for abortion? Oh the horror! How come no headline of talking about how the state department finally admitted there was no protest in Libya and the whole thing was an orchestrated attack? CNN is in the Obama tank

    October 10, 2012 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
  21. works4me

    So in other words... he hasn't been told what to say and when to say it... yet.

    October 10, 2012 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
  22. Don

    There you go America! Your choice

    October 10, 2012 06:13 am at 6:13 am |
  23. oskarmatzerath1

    What's so wrong with preserving life? I used to be a very strong believer in the right to choose. Only after facing severe disability and near-death do I now fully appreciate the inherent value to life – any life. We can get into a debate about the philosohical classification of what it means to be 'living', which will inevitably happen on this forum, but I don't want to. Just think about this: what if you were aborted? Now, yes there is a fundamental paradox in this line of thinking 'if you were aborted you would never be able to think 'glad I wasn't aborted', but I think intuitively we feel the point I'm trying to drive home, irregardless of how 'perfectly or imperfectly' it is presented.

    And yes I too have sympathies. Yes I feel empathy and compassion. But its a balancing act, for me. The degree to which I value life outweighs the temporary (although slightly permanent (emotionally and psychologically) discomfort such a situation provides.

    October 10, 2012 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  24. danita

    Why should tax payers pay for your abortion? We already pay for the darn pills... Get a life CNN as we the United States have more important issues to handle. This is not an everyday issue for a woman, and doubt if most of us have had one or will have one. Mama and dad should pay for whats done in the sheets...

    October 10, 2012 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  25. Rob

    One more reason to vote ROMNEY 2012! Don't kill your babies!!

    October 10, 2012 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
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