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 President Barack Obama rescinded it shortly after taking office in 2009.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

    aww Cnn doing Obamas dirty work.. Still sour over the debate :'(

    October 10, 2012 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  2. JesusISLord

    Abortion is evil and is murder...period. My close friends son is a product of rape. He is healthy and loved. It is the churches spiritual responsibility to care for the lost and broken hearted. In the case of rape, women who are pregnant need to be counciled and cared for spiritually wether pregnant or not. Only God can make a child manifest. If a child manifest despite they circumstance, that child is a gift from God.

    October 10, 2012 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  3. tam

    May the Good Lord help America if he and that Ryan get into the White House.

    October 10, 2012 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  4. Bob Alan

    Liar, Liar Pants on Fire. I think the true and Romney have nothing in common. Say anything, do anything, to be POTUS. He lied throughout his term as my governor of Massachusetts and he continues to lie.

    October 10, 2012 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
  5. rude

    Yet another flip flop. How srewd to tak ALL sides of an issue to get ALL votes.

    October 10, 2012 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  6. Top_News

    Finally someone recognizes the need to not have MY tax dollars going toward abortions. If women/girls want an abortion, then let them do it with their own money, not mine.

    October 10, 2012 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  7. me

    So NOW you cnat trust Mitt. Look out America, he is not one of us.

    October 10, 2012 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  8. Mainer

    Life begins when we draw our first breath unassisted. If a fetus goes full term, but does not for whatever reason survive, there is no "Certificate Of Live Birth" issued. (AKA "Birth Certificate)
    Legalize abortions and stem cell research, and get off your religious high horse.

    October 10, 2012 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  9. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    Their brains vacuumed out;
    their arms and legs pulled off;
    their skulls crushed.

    Murdered for simply being inconvenient.

    The premeditated, cold blooded murder,
    of innocent and defenseless pre-born babies
    with unique DNA takes place over 3,600 times
    every day in America.

    FORWARD !!!

    October 10, 2012 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  10. jnpa

    In his 1994 debate with Sen Ted Kennedy, Romney said "I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country." He also said "I have since the time my mom took that position since she ran in 1970 as a U.S. Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe vs. Wade has been the law for 20 years that we should sustain and support it and I sustain and support that law and the right of a woman to make that choice. And my personal beliefs, like the personal beliefs of other people, should not be brought into a political campaign."

    Flip flop Romney is at it again. He will tell you whatever you want to hear folks. Please standby, every comment he has made WILL change, guaranteed!

    October 10, 2012 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  11. Name

    Keep it going Romney!

    October 10, 2012 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  12. Beanies

    "President Romney.....Setting women's rights back a hundred years."

    That should be his new slogan.

    October 10, 2012 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  13. JustSaying2u

    This is just Mitt shaking the etch-o-sketch again...

    October 10, 2012 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  14. JIm

    Mitt is loaded with cash he can adopt all these unwanted kids.

    October 10, 2012 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  15. FloydZepp

    The pander Bear is at it again.

    And when did CNN all of a sudden become the all-Romney News Channel? 12 stories alone on the front page. Sheesh, how blatant.

    October 10, 2012 06:42 am at 6:42 am |
  16. Mike60626

    Since 40% of the 1.21 million US abortions are by women living below the poverty level, how do republicans plan to care for the additional 484,000 children added to families living in poverty every year while cutting entitlements? If it is the “Safety Net” Governor Romney has referred, how is it funded and who administers it? If it is private giving how are they going to adjust for the increase despite private giving has never been more than a fraction of the current funds for aiding those in poverty. Additionally if we are eliminating loopholes and deductions from the tax code to pay for the tax cut, why would tax payers with disposable income donate to charities and not just keep the money?

    October 10, 2012 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  17. NC_Mike

    "I will vigorously defend the right of a woman to choose" Mitt Romney when running for Governor of Mass. Now – flip-flop, etch-A-sketch Mitt the political opportunist who says anything to get elected. Geeze!

    October 10, 2012 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  18. Name

    Sounds kinda 'Etchy-Sketchy '.

    October 10, 2012 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  19. Frank S

    Vote fore me, because I tell you what you want to hear, given the constraints forced on me by the Tea Party, but don't focus on that. I'm pro-life, unless I can bamboozle independent women into thinking I'm not. Appreciate your support!

    October 10, 2012 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  20. Steve

    So when Mitt Romney was biking around France on behalf of the Mormon Church (and dodging his obligation to the US Military), he was pro-abortion? Couldn't the Mormon Church find someone who isn't for killing babies in the womb to represent them? Or is the Mormon Church pro-killing babies?

    October 10, 2012 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  21. Blake

    As usual, Mitt will flip flop and say anything to get elected. He did the same thing in Massachusetts. Now he's doing it again in national politics.

    October 10, 2012 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  22. LakeRat1

    People, you should know better than to believe anything "Mr Etch-a-Sketch" says. All of a sudden, he's trying to look like a moderate, but remember, he's still in bed with the GOP whack jobs. Nobody really has any idea what this guy's going to do if he becomes President!

    October 10, 2012 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  23. Name. walkerdog

    I don't what people see in mitten. This man is all over the place! You can't trust him. He will say anything to get a vote.

    October 10, 2012 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  24. TomInRochNY

    Romney flopping to the middle now that the general election is in full swing. Can anyone really tell what he'll do if elected?

    October 10, 2012 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  25. MMCT203

    This guy flip-flops like a fish out of water. He should be ashamed of himself for straight up LYING to the American People. And the American People that believe these LIES should be ashamed of themselves for not doing their own research. In fact, if you dont like reading, take a wander over to youtube and view videos of what this man has said.

    October 10, 2012 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
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