Mitt Romney let his guard down a little bit on Tuesday, when he told the Des Moines Register that he wouldn't pursue any abortion legislation if elected to the nation's highest office. "There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda," said the Republican candidate. The paper qualified these remarks a bit, explaining that Romney "would reinstate the so-called Mexico City policy that bans U.S. foreign aid dollars from being used to do abortions" by executive order.
Maybe "let his guard down" isn't the right way to describe Romney's less-than-a-month-to-go rhetoric. "Tried to win more votes" is an obvious alternative -- at least that's what the Obama camp thinks. "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," said Lis Smith, a campaign spokesperson for Obama. "Women simply can't trust him."
Well, that's pretty aggressive. But based on Romney's record, a gut check is in order. The fact of the matter is that Romney's bounced back and forth on this issue a number of times. "To be sure, he has flip-flopped on the issue, earning a Full Flop on PolitiFact's Flip-O-Meter," says The Tampa Bay Times. As NPR points out, Romney is pretty famous for championing abortion rights laws while governor of Massachusetts. But as The Wall Street Journal points out, Romney has also "vowed to eliminate federal funds for Planned Parenthood clinics."
As Romney himself made clear to the Des Moines Register, however, a president doesn't need silly laws to change policy. Plus, just because he wouldn't put abortion legislation on his agenda doesn't mean he would support types of legislation that are about abortion but don't specifically use the word "abortion". Take it away, Romney campaign. "Governor Romney would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life," Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul told told the National Review after the Des Moines Register published its article.
Glad we cleared that up.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.