Today in Mitt Romney’s interview with The Des Moines Register editorial board, he said that abortion legislation isn’t part of his agenda.  Romney specifically said this, “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.”  You can look at this in one of four ways.

  1. Mitt Romney really isn’t prolife like he says he now is.
  2. Mitt Romney didn’t want to get caught having an “Akin moment,” and was afraid The Des Moines Register was trying to draw him out and paint him as a right-wing extremist who hates women.
  3. Mitt Romney was having an etch-a-sketch moment.
  4. Mitt Romney is unaware of current prolife legislative efforts.

None of these are good because they either mean a lack of conviction or ignorance.  To Romney’s credit he did say he’d reinstate the Mexico City Policy.  His statement also was not specifically directed at judicial nominations where he promised to not appoint activist judges.  However on the issue of legislation he is contradicting himself.  In a letter to a prolife activist published by he laid out specific items that would be part of his “agenda.”  Outside of judges and the Mexico City Policy he says:

  • Romney said he supports the Hyde Amendment – so can we take that to mean he’ll veto legislation that strips it?
  • Romney said he will end federal funding for abortion activists like Planned Parenthood – so does this mean he’ll do it with an executive order?
  • Romney said he would advocate and support the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (I know there is disagreement among prolife activists on this bill).
  • Romney said as Governor he promoted abstinence education in the classroom.  He vetoed legislation that would have provided emergency contraception with a prescription and vetoed cloning legislation.

He then said, “I am proud to say that each time I was presented with legislation on life issues, I sided with life.”  Can we not count on him to do the same as President or has he changed his mind since writing this letter?

It would have been one thing had Romney said “we don’t currently have any model legislation that we would try to introduce since our focus is on jobs, but would be happy to entertain any prolife bill that Congress sends our way.”  But instead he seemingly closed the door on any such legislation.  Unless he has another etch-a-sketch moment while in the White House.  In a battleground state like Iowa Mitt Romney will need prolife activists to beat Barack Obama.  The race here is close enough he can’t turn off his base, and he needs every electoral vote he can muster.  Alienating prolife voters will not help.

Update 10/10/12: Romney reiterates his pledge to defund Planned Parenthood to a reporter in Ohio.

I think I’ve said time and again that I’m a pro-life candidate and I’ll be a pro-life president. The actions  I’ll take immediately is to remove funding for Planned Parenthood.  It will not be part of my budget. And also  I ‘ve indicated that I will reverse the Mexico City position of the president. I will reinstate the Mexico City policy which keeps us from using foreign aid for abortions overseas.

Also The Weekly Standard reminds Romney that dealing with Obamacare would be considered abortion legislation.

Update: 10/11/12:  Marjorie Dannenfelser of Susan B. Anthony List called his answer a “hiccup” in a statement to USA Today.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, which opposes abortion rights, told USA TODAY that the organization is “confident” Romney will keep promises made to conservatives on this issue.

“We have full confidence that as president, Gov. Romney will stand by the pro-life commitments he laid out in National Review in June 2011,” Dannenfelser said in a statement. She said these promises include “his pledge to prohibit federal funding for Planned Parenthood and other organizations that perform and promote abortion, as well as advocate for a bill to promote unborn children capable of feeling pain.”

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