Romney’s wavering path on abortion. Do voters care?
Abortion is a tricky issue for both Romney and Obama campaigns. In polls, a plurality agrees that abortion should be generally available. But a substantial number want to restrict its availability.
Mitt Romney is having to talk about abortion a lot more than he’d like to these days for one key reason: His history on this important social issue is, shall we say, very mixed.Skip to next paragraph
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Also, it’s a wedge issue that’s increasingly important to the Obama campaign, which some polls show is seeing a drop in what had been its clear lead among women voters. As a result, both sides have hustled out new ads on the subject.
When women were asked to identify the most important issue for them, the top concern by far was abortion, an issue that didn't even register among men, USA Today reported. Nearly four in 10 women cited it, and those who did supported Obama by more than 3-1.
“I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it, and I sustain and support that law,” he said then.
Two important things he noted at the time: His position was the same his mother took when she ran unsuccessfully for a US Senate seat in Michigan in 1970. And he wouldn’t let his personal opposition to abortion (tied to his Mormon faith) get in the way of “the right of a woman to make that choice.”
Mr. Romney lost that race, but his position on abortion (in liberal Massachusetts) didn’t change when he ran successfully for governor six years later. “As Governor, Mitt Romney would protect the current pro-choice status quo in Massachusetts,” his platform stated. “No law would change." Note that he wasn’t just acknowledging the Bay State’s pro-choice preference on abortion but vowing to “protect” it.
Three years later, his rhetoric on abortion had changed significantly.
"I am pro-life,” he wrote in a Boston Globe op-ed in 2005.
“I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother. I wish the people of America agreed, and that the laws of our nation could reflect that view,” he wrote. “But while the nation remains so divided over abortion, I believe that the states, through the democratic process, should determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate.”