National Partnership for Women & Families

In the News

Presidential Candidates Spar Over Abortion Policies

Presidential Candidates Spar Over Abortion Policies

October 10, 2012 — Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Tuesday said abortion-related legislation would not be part of his agenda if elected, but he would use an executive order to reinstate the so-called Mexico City policy, the Des Moines Register reports (Jacobs, Des Moines Register, 10/9).

The policy, also known as the "global gag rule," blocks U.S. foreign aid to organizations that use their own money to offer abortion services or provide information about or referrals for abortion services (Women's Health Policy Report, 5/25). President Obama repealed the policy shortly after taking office in 2009 (Williams, Washington Post, 10/9).

Conflicting Statements

"There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda," Romney told the Register's editorial board in an interview (Des Moines Register, 10/9).

However, shortly after the Register posted the story, a Romney campaign spokesperson, Andrea Saul, told the National Review Online that Romney "would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life."

Romney's statement also conflicts with the positions of some conservatives in Congress -- including his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) -- who have advocated for more restrictions on abortion (Foley, Huffington Post, 10/10).

Response From Obama Campaign

The Obama campaign accused Romney of trying to "play politics" with abortion. The campaign cited comments Romney made earlier this year that he would appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade (Gabriel/Cooper, New York Times, 10/9).

"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,'" Obama spokesperson Lis Smith said, adding, "Women simply can't trust him."

Comments From Planned Parenthood Action Fund

The Planned Parenthood Action Fund also characterized Romney's statements as misleading. "Romney's views on women's health are far outside of the mainstream, and that's why he's trying to hide them in the last weeks until the election," PPAF Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens said (AP/Politico, 10/9).