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 President Barack Obama rescinded it shortly after taking office in 2009.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

    Pro life, yet pro war.....a life is a shouldn't be able to have it both ways.....!

    October 10, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  2. Lesson Learned

    seriously? this is the best republican party has to offer? this country is going down the toilet.

    October 10, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  3. Rob

    I am so ready for this election to be over so they will quit twisting every statement like they ringing out washcloth

    October 10, 2012 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  4. David

    Mitt Flop is at it again!

    October 10, 2012 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  5. fuzzy math?

    How can people even consider voting for Romney. Just unbelievable

    October 10, 2012 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  6. SPower

    This is "News", CNN??? Really??? Have you checked the Drudge Report this morning?

    October 10, 2012 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  7. vp

    Mr. Romney's personal views and his views as Republican Candidate are 180 degrees away.

    October 10, 2012 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  8. jdun

    To close a race for Obama to fumble now. the next debate better be good or we will be saddled with right wing extremism for 4 years! Hard to believe Americans would want the republican agenda as in their platform. If Romney wins we will soon know what it means to live without government. Don't think you folks will like it much.

    October 10, 2012 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  9. SDG

    This man is the wrong man for America. Period.

    October 10, 2012 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  10. Wilbur in Seattle

    Aliens was a great movie. What Romney and Ryan are saying is that they would force Ripley to give birth to the Alien because it has value to the Corporation. The blind leading the blind. And so it goes.

    October 10, 2012 07:08 am at 7:08 am |
  11. 94fxsts

    Myth Rmoney....what a guy.

    October 10, 2012 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  12. Mamaboats

    Every time I hear about a man talking about abortions and rape so casually and assuming that he can make the decision for me, it makes my blood boil. We are in the 21st century and gosh, we have had the vote for quite some time and I don't need anyone telling me what I can or cannot do with my own body. This is no one's business but my own and were I to make the decision to have an abortion, it wouldn't be some quick "oh let's do it" thing. It is a huge decision and one that should be made by the female. As far as rape goes, not, I repeat, do not think to make a decision for me.

    October 10, 2012 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  13. GrampaSez

    CNN hit job? "Democrats say that ROMNEY says... (insert current story here)"...

    ...instead of HERE'S WHAT ROMNEY REALLY SAYS...

    Same stuff, different day.

    October 10, 2012 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  14. robj

    Hussein like to kill the unborn and has received of a lot of benefit from dead people. He sees dead people!

    October 10, 2012 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  15. LS

    Do not trust this man!!

    October 10, 2012 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  16. dahdit

    Say anything, then do whatever Adelson and your neocon handlers tell you. It's a CEO thing.

    October 10, 2012 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  17. Marina O

    again....Mitt which is it. Yes, no or what ever the state I am wanting votes. You are such a fake.

    October 10, 2012 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  18. colora

    One more example that Romney will say anything and change his position on the issues as necessarey to get elected.

    October 10, 2012 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  19. peridot2

    Romney could generate some energy with all this flip-flopping. That might get some good out of his 'energy policy.'

    October 10, 2012 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  20. tepeters

    The man will say anything and do anything at any moment depending on his audience or purpose. He has no principle except to complete his bucket list of personal accomplishment. He doesn;t care about people. A message for all those people who think his flip flopping debate performance was anything sincere-there is no sincerity in this man. He cares nothing about anybody but his own world. And he is not to be trusted because he will hcnage hgis mind at the drop of a hat.

    October 10, 2012 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  21. Fact

    So, it is unclear where Romney stand on this issues. What is Romney's position?

    October 10, 2012 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  22. Rob

    About time someone realizes that working Americans shoulds have to pay for an abortion because someone got drunk and their cloths fell off. It is time people took responsiblity for their actions and stop expecting everyone else to pay for thier bad choices

    October 10, 2012 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  23. Tom

    I fail to see where this guy is saying he is willing to use our government to govern people. It seems like he wants to remove all policies that creating any governing support to anyone in America. I guess his Mormon ideology of let others help others doesn’t apply within our government?

    Frankly I don’t think we need a 1950 mindset for today’s president.

    October 10, 2012 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  24. barbara

    Women...wake up and pay attention to our rights!!!! God save us if Romney is our president...

    October 10, 2012 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  25. Joe

    Here comes another week that we're not talking about the economy. Well played, Axelrod. Well played.

    October 10, 2012 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
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