Romney Supports Total Abortion Ban, No Exceptions, But Fools the Media Into Reporting Otherwise


In the aftermath of the interview in which Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin outed the GOP’s misogynistic policies on reproductive health care, both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have been running around the country acting offended and aggrieved. They have gone out of their way to try and convince the media that they don’t share Akin’s views, and now Mitt Romney has been all over the place stating his support for an abortion ban with exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother. (I am putting aside here the fact that I believe creating exceptions for access to abortion care is totally unacceptable.)

The media has been parroting Romney’s new abortion conversion for two days now. Today in the Washington Post, for example, Ezra Klein wrote:

The Todd Akin controversy has highlighted the divide between anti-abortion politicians like Mitt Romney who support exemptions allowing women to terminate pregnancies caused by rape or incest and those like Akin and Paul Ryan who argue that the procedure should only be allowed when a mother’s life is at risk.

An ABC OTUS/Yahoo News piece stated:

Romney believes abortion should be legal in cases of abortion or incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger. Ryan’s previous position only extended exceptions to protecting the mother’s life.

Throughout the day today, numerous MSNBC anchors, commentators, and reporters repeated Romney the line that Romney supported exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother.

There is only one problem with this. He doesn’t. 

Romney has stated repeatedly that he would sign a personhood or “sanctity of life” law.  Such laws allow no exceptions for abortion. None. Period.

Personhood/sanctity of human life laws pushed by a radical anti-choice movement are complete abortion bans. They would also ban emergency contraception, many widely used forms of hormonal contraception, in-vitro fertilization, and medical treatment for pregnant women even in cases where her life is imminently in danger. In fact, such a law is responsible for the death of a pregnant teen in the Dominican Republic two weeks ago, who was denied treatment for leukemia because she was pregnant. Both she and the baby died. Such laws also criminalize miscarriage and would land women suspecting of self-inducing abortion in jail. Indeed, this is already happening in the United States, but that is a different article.

This is the exact law Mitt Romney has said, unequivocally, that he would sign. The 2012 GOP platform asserts that legal personhood begins at conception. Translation: a fertilized egg (zygote), blastocyst, embryo, fetus all are deemed as persons with full constitutional protections, and the rights of such “egg-persons” in practice trump those of the women in whose body they reside and on whose body they depend.

Again, Romney has said that he supports this law, unequivocally.

In 2007, writes Teddy Davis of ABCNews.com:

“Romney was asked by George Stephanopoulos if he supports the Republican Party’s 2004 platform on abortion rights, which states, “We support a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution and we endorse legislation to make it clear that the 14th Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”

Romney replied, “You know, I do support the Republican platform, and I support that being part of the Republican platform and I’m pro-life.”

Romney also told Mike Huckabee that he would “absolutely” support a personhood amendment.

In an October 2011 article, ThinkProgress’s Alex Seitz-Wald wrote:

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) told Fox News host Mike Huckabee this weekend that he would support an amendment to his state’s constitution to define life as beginning at conception, which would outlaw abortion and potentially many forms of contraceptionas well. Noting that the state supreme court forced the inclusion of abortion coverage in Romney’s universal health care law, the GOP presidential front-runner said the only way to undo the decision would be a constitutional amendment. Asked if he would support such a move, Romney replied, “absolutely”:

HUCKABEE: Would you have supported a constitutional amendment that would have established definition of life beginning of life at conception?

ROMNEY: Absolutely.

In the aftermath of the Akin debacle, Romney now asserts he believes there should be exceptions in law for rape, incest, and life of the mother. That he has a new position this week on the right to safe abortion care is not surprising, given he has changed his position so many times it is difficult to keep track. But Mitt Romney is on the record many times as saying he “unequivocally” supports a personhood/human life law, which unequivocally bans abortion and as per above hormonal contraception and other critical health interventions. If Romney wins this election in November it will be in large part because of the support of radical anti-choice groups to whom he will owe a debt. Anyone who thinks they will not press their case, hard, for passing such a law has been living on another planet for the last 20 years. We’ve seen Paul Ryan co-sponsor and vote to pass a human life amendment, and virtually the entire Republican caucus in the House vote in favor of such bans.

Either Mitt Romney is very confused and does not understand the grave implications for women of the laws for which he is espousing support, or he is lying, or both.

The media should not be helping him out.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Follow Jodi Jacobson on twitter: @jljacobson

  • arachne646

    The Party would never let him allow any exeptions or exemptions for women or girls into any laws or amendments he would allow to pass his veto power. Cells and cell clusters must trump or equal the rights to life and liberty of women every time! Make sure no voter forgets

  • jeff313

    Romneys stance that execptions of rape, incest and health of the mother is not something new.  To imply that it is and as a reaction to the Todd Akin story is just pain wrong.

    Proof: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/269984/my-pro-life-pledge-mitt-romney

    Note the exception is the very first line and the date of the statement is long before the Todd Akin story.

    Secondly read the republican platform on abortion.  It is only broad concepts that do not go into ANY details.  To imply that because it does not mention specific details about these exceptions, it is against those exceptions shows a politically bias mindset.  Read it yourself and be the judge.

    http://www.lifenews.com/2012/08/23/full-text-of-strongly-pro-life-gop-abortion-platform-released/

    Finally, “personhood” laws do not slam the door on such exceptions.  This is because there is another person, the mother, who rights can not be ignored either.  In the case of rape, that person had no choice in being it the situations and, as such, has the right to remove herself form the situations.  As in ANY case where two persons rights are in conflict, exceptions are made and worked out by the legislative process.  To assume that “personhood” laws imply that one persons rights would be sacrificed for the other is unrealistic.  It won’t happen.

    Mitt Romney clearly supports exceptions in cases of rape, incest and health of the mother.  The vast majority of republicans support those exceptions as well.  The press by the President’s campaign to convince the public that this is not the case is just an obvious, politically motivated, lie. 

     

  • jennifer-starr

    Finally, “personhood” laws do not slam the door on such exceptions


    They absolutely DO slam the door on such exceptions.  From Personhood USA’s  own Jennifer Mason :  

    “There are no exceptions in Personhood USA’s presidential pledge because there are no situations where it becomes necessary to dismember a baby,” added Jennifer Mason, spokesperson for Personhood USA. 


    Either you’re hopelessly naive, Jeff–or you’re being very disingenuous. 

  • colleen

    This sort of absolute denial and refusal to address reality appears to be the Republican response to legitimate criticisms of their stated policies, their disgusting platform and actual legislation their pols have passed.

  • jeff313

    You will find people on both sides of the issue that are pushing for what they believe in and will assume that everyone that uses a certain phrase believes exactly like they do.  If you don’t know this about human nature, you are the one that is hopelessly naive.  Jennifer Mason is not running for President.  She will not be the final arbitor of the details in any future legislation.  If she was your arguments would be valid.  Mitt Romney is the one running for President and he has said for years that he believes these exceptions.  He was elected Govenor in one of the countries most liberal states.  If you were brave enough to read my links you would also see that he was one of the few republican canidates to refuse to sign a pledge that he thought was too extreem.  Mitt Romney is not the extreem one.  To argue that would be a joke.  The point of the artical is that Mitt Romney is against such exections.  The facts scream that this is a blatant lie.  If people can not see this they are either too wrapped up in there politics to think straight or they are being very disingenuous.

     

    People can make the argument that abortions should be legal every single cases, including for gender selection or partial birth abortion.  If they don’t feel that they can argue the specifics of where there could be restrictions.  Then we all can be honest with both ourselves and eachother.  But when the political hacks try to lie to get more people to come to there side than wouild if they were honest.  That is disgusting and that is my only argument here.

  • jennifer-starr

     But when the political hacks try to lie to get more people to come to there side than wouild if they were honest.  That is disgusting and that is my only argument here.

     


    Lying—you mean like the way the Republicans lied to get themselves elected in 2010–promising to focus only on jobs when what they’ve really been focused on is attacking women by passing as many antichoice bills as possible? Attacking women, yes—because I don’t believe that most of these so-called ‘pro-lifers’  actually give a damn about ‘teh baybees’. And now you’re trying to say that Romney is a moderate trying to pass himself of as a conservative in order to get the nomination and vote?  Right—

    Let me be quite frank here–giving personhood to fertilized eggs–as the law has been written– would absolutely ban all abortion, hormonal birth control and IVF. It’s an inherently stupid idea which hasn’t managed to pass in any state legislature–not even in Mississippi, because most people realize that it’s simply ridiculous. Even if there were ‘exceptions’–that doesn’t remove its inherent stupidity. It’s bad legislation, period. And I don’t want a bunch of (mostly male) legislators deciding how many reproductive rights they want to give me, because I think that should be up to me. 

     

    I’m sorry, Jeff, but my trust in the GOP is just gone. 

  • jeff313

    “And now you’re trying to say that Romney is a moderate trying to pass himself of as a conservative in order to get the nomination and vote?  Right”

    Wrong, if you look at a link I originally gave…

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/269984/my-pro-life-pledge-mitt-romney

    Take note that this is a very conservative website/publication.  As such no one can say that he was pandering to his critics or pretending to be conservative to the right.  He was saying things to the right that some in the right did not want to hear.  As such your accusation that he is trying to pass himself of as something else does not fit at all.  As such there is no reason to believe that his is misrepresnting his own beliefs; he believes these exemptions should exist.

     

    As for you statement about the ‘pro-lifers’ not giving a damn about ‘teh baybees’, it shows a level of animosity that make it hard to believe that you ever would of trusted the GOP.  That is fine as Mitt Romney does vastly disagree with you about abortion.  He just does not disagee with you about exemptions for rape, incest and health of the mother.  And I stand by my belief that those who promote this line of agrument are not being honest.

  • jennifer-starr

    Well there’s always going to be animosity when  a bunch of (mostly male) legislators without uteruses seemed to be focused on trying to legislate mine, Jeff– and yet you seem rather surprised about that. And no, I don’t believe the so-called ‘pro-lifers’ actually care about babies. That’s not what it’s about for them. 

     

    But what really does cause me to lose what little trust that I might have had was that they got into office by promising to focus on JOBS.  Remember jobs? That’s what they were elected for.  No one elected to them to push this ‘end abortion, send revival’ crap.