I just got off an Obama campaign conference call for journos and bloggers with Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, and Stephanie Cutter of Obama for America. The two women pointed out that Mitt’s unabashed dishonesty was on full display yesterday when he told the editorial board of the Des Moines Register that “no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” Soon after, his spox Andrea Saul reversed course, telling National Review that Romney would “of course” support “pro-life” legislation as president. Then, she sent the AP a statement saying Romney would be a “pro-life president,” though she gave no details about what that would actually mean in terms of the law. Whew, what a dizzying whirl of spin!
In fact, as Richards and Cutter explained, Mitt has promised to sign laws overturning legal abortion and to appoint judges who would rule Roe V. Wade unconstitutional. It’s just one more sign of how dishonest Romney is that he’s trying to hide what he really believes, but as they said, “there’s no hiding when you’re president.” The two emphasized that they don’t believe he’s changed his mind on these issues, instead he’s just trying to soften and blur the hard edges of them. What’s more, if he were to be elected, the radical right-wing of the Repubs would have their way in the House of Representatives, a caucus that has sponsored and voted on a great many anti-choice bills.
They added that despite Ms. Saul’s attempt to downplay the significance of Mitt’s lie to the newspaper, it’s not going to work, because these are issues of fundamental concern to hundreds of thousands of women, and men. Richards concluded her remarks with a reminder that every dollar spent on family planning saves $4 down the road, in avoiding unintended pregnancies. Last, in an email associated with this call, the Obama campaign shared the hardline pledge that Mitt took last June in an exchange of correspondence with anti-abortion groups.
My Pro-Life Pledge
By Mitt Romney
June 18, 2011 12:50 P.M.
I am pro-life and believe that abortion should be limited to only instances of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.
I support the reversal of Roe v. Wade, because it is bad law and bad medicine. Roe was a misguided ruling that was a result of a small group of activist federal judges legislating from the bench.
I support the Hyde Amendment, which broadly bars the use of federal funds for abortions. And as president, I will support efforts to prohibit federal funding for any organization like Planned Parenthood, which primarily performs abortions or offers abortion-related services.
I will reinstate the Mexico City Policy to ensure that nongovernmental organizations that receive funding from America refrain from performing or promoting abortion services, as a method of family planning, in other countries. This includes ending American funding for any United Nations or other foreign assistance program that promotes or performs abortions on women around the world.
I will advocate for and support a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion.
And perhaps most importantly, I will only appoint judges who adhere to the Constitution and the laws as they are written, not as they want them to be written.
As much as I share the goals of the Susan B. Anthony List, its well-meaning pledge is overly broad and would have unintended consequences. That is why I could not sign it. It is one thing to end federal funding for an organization like Planned Parenthood; it is entirely another to end all federal funding for thousands of hospitals across America. That is precisely what the pledge would demand and require of a president who signed it.
The pledge also unduly burdens a president’s ability to appoint the most qualified individuals to a broad array of key positions in the federal government. I would expect every one of my appointees to carry out my policies on abortion and every other issue, irrespective of their personal views.
If I have the opportunity to serve as our nation’s next president, I commit to doing everything in my power to cultivate, promote, and support a culture of life in America.