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Romney Contradicts Own Web Site on Abortion

August 28, 2012

Back in June, Mitt Romney's right-hand man Eric Fehrnstrom declared, "This is not a social issue election." Romney, he pledged, will "govern as a pro-life president, but you're going to see the Democrats use all sorts of shiny objects to distract people's attention from the Obama performance on the economy." But as the Republicans themselves have once again made clear, those "shiny objects" include metal hangers, sonogram screens, trans-vaginal ultra sound wands and stirrups. That's why Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is once again pretending abortion doesn't matter in the 2012 election and that he doesn't believe what his own web site says he does.
Governor Romney's latest contortionist act on reproductive rights came during an interview Monday with Scott Pelley of CBS News.

"My position has been clear throughout this campaign. I'm in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother. But recognize this is the decision that will be made by the Supreme Court. The Democrats try and make this a political issue every four years, but this is a matter in the courts. It's been settled for some time in the courts."

If you're confused, you should be. And not just because his staff later insisted, like John McCain and Paul Ryan before them, that the "health of the mother" shouldn't be a consideration at all. As it turns out, on his campaign web site's "Values" page, Team Romney declares:

Mitt believes that life begins at conception and wishes that the laws of our nation reflected that view. But while the nation remains so divided, he believes that the right next step is for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade - a case of blatant judicial activism that took a decision that should be left to the people and placed it in the hands of unelected judges. With Roe overturned, states will be empowered through the democratic process to determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate.

(Empowered, that is, to lie about "fetal pain" and a mythical link between abortion and breast cancer, to require doctors to withhold information from parents about potentially terminal birth defects, to mandate the viewing of sonogram images, to demand women undergo unnecessary and invasive trans-vaginal ultrasound procedures, to impose unneeded and potentially bankrupting facilities requirements on clinics, and even to make patients' information public.)
And as Romney makes clear in laying out his vision for the "Courts and the Constitution," the supposedly "settled" law of Roe v. Wade will become unsettled very quickly once he's in the White House:

Mitt believes in the rule of law, and he understands that the next president will make nominations that will shape the Supreme Court and the whole of the judiciary for decades to come. He will therefore appoint wise, experienced, and restrained judges who will take seriously their oath to discharge their duties impartially in accordance with the Constitution and laws -- not their own personal policy preferences.
As president, Mitt will nominate judges in the mold of Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito.

Mitt's statement on Monday doesn't sound like "My Pro-Life Pledge" he put his name to last year or his past support for both state "personhood" initiatives and the GOP's human life amendment. But it does resemble the pro-choice version of Mitt Romney from 1994, when he declared his "unwavering" support for Roe v. Wade after the death of a "dear, close family relative" from a then-illegal abortion:

"I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it."

But that was then and this is now. In 1994, Mitt Romney was running for Senate in liberal, pro-choice Massachusetts. Eighteen years later, he sought the nomination of a Republican Party which believes in "legitimate rape" (Missouri's Todd Akin), believes rape is "similar" to out-of-wedlock pregnancy (Pennsylvania's Tom Smith) and the "forcible rape" is both "a method of conception" and "stock language" (GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan). But now with the nomination won, Mitt Romney is running away from his party's reactionary rollback of women's reproductive rights.
And running away from those shiny objects.


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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