Is Romney going soft on abortion?

Mitt Romney, as expected, seems to be tacking towards the center in an effort to woo Independents and to counter the “war against women” allegations.  This is what he told the Des Moines Register:

“There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.”

via Romney: Abortion not on my agenda – CBS News.

Among his long history of different opinions on life issues, Romney’s stated position today is that he is pro-life with exceptions (for rape, incest, and the life of the mother).  Does this sound like he is saying, yes, I’m mostly pro-life, but if I’m elected, don’t worry, I’m not going to do anything about it?

How should pro-life voters take this?  A Romney administration, however unenthusiastic about the issue,  would surely be better for the  pro-life cause than Obama’s.  He says he’ll end the Obamacare abortifacient mandate, cut funding for Planned Parenthood, and stop tax money from going to international abortion providers.  He also says he will appoint conservative judges.  After all, given Roe vs. Wade, abortion law is in the hands of the courts rather than  legislators.

In addition to those pro-abortion measures implemented by the Obama administration, the Democrats in their convention came across as not just pro-choice but as positively pro-abortion.  Bill Clinton’s Democratic party wanted abortion to be “safe, legal, and rare.”  But at this convention, speaker after speaker displayed,  to thunderous applause, an untroubled, fanatical, and outright evil embrace of abortion.

But still. . . .Though Romney is now trying to placate pro-lifers, they should be excused for being cynical, for thinking Republicans once again are trying to use them for their votes and activism, while giving them as little as possible.

Is this too harsh an assessment?  If you are pro-life, do Romney’s words make you reconsider supporting him?  Do pro-lifers have any other options?

 

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Pete

    Clever statement by Romney – indeed, the abortion problem is not a legislation problem. Since Roe v. Wade it’s been a constitutional problem. Romney has done the “Gumby” thing on abortion in the past, so it’s hard to know how vigorously he would work towards limiting/eliminating abortion. Regardless, he’s more likely to appoint supreme court justices who might do the right thing than his opponent would.

  • Pete

    Clever statement by Romney – indeed, the abortion problem is not a legislation problem. Since Roe v. Wade it’s been a constitutional problem. Romney has done the “Gumby” thing on abortion in the past, so it’s hard to know how vigorously he would work towards limiting/eliminating abortion. Regardless, he’s more likely to appoint supreme court justices who might do the right thing than his opponent would.

  • Tom Hering

    Appointing conservative justices. How’s that worked out the past 32 years?

  • Tom Hering

    Appointing conservative justices. How’s that worked out the past 32 years?

  • Pete

    Well, yes.

  • Pete

    Well, yes.

  • Trey

    @Tom

    Not that bad. Roberts while willing to compromise is still clearly in the Conservative camp on social issues.

  • Trey

    @Tom

    Not that bad. Roberts while willing to compromise is still clearly in the Conservative camp on social issues.

  • Cincinnatus

    Tom@2:

    For movement conservatives? Pretty darn well, actually. But it’s not like conservative justices can magically overturn Roe v. Wade, which wouldn’t even accomplish much.

  • Cincinnatus

    Tom@2:

    For movement conservatives? Pretty darn well, actually. But it’s not like conservative justices can magically overturn Roe v. Wade, which wouldn’t even accomplish much.

  • Carl Vehse

    “Is Romney going soft on abortion?”

    As a proponent and enabler of murder-by-abortion, Barry, of course, is a genocidal murdering traitor, even suggesting it as a ‘final solution’ for any bastard grandchildren that he might have.

    The position of Mittens can be considered as “genocidal-lite.” The fact that Paul Ryan, formerly a strong pro-life advocate, has switched over to support his new Mormon Master, shows the power of the dark side and should serve as a warning to Christians, lest they submit to the same devotion for a genocidal advocate.

    It is astonishing (well… not really) that leaders in Lutheran church bodies have been so quiet about not communicating such a warning to members of their church bodies.

    Lufauxran mileage will vary.

  • Carl Vehse

    “Is Romney going soft on abortion?”

    As a proponent and enabler of murder-by-abortion, Barry, of course, is a genocidal murdering traitor, even suggesting it as a ‘final solution’ for any bastard grandchildren that he might have.

    The position of Mittens can be considered as “genocidal-lite.” The fact that Paul Ryan, formerly a strong pro-life advocate, has switched over to support his new Mormon Master, shows the power of the dark side and should serve as a warning to Christians, lest they submit to the same devotion for a genocidal advocate.

    It is astonishing (well… not really) that leaders in Lutheran church bodies have been so quiet about not communicating such a warning to members of their church bodies.

    Lufauxran mileage will vary.

  • Marie

    “Republican politicians, just as surely as Democratic ones, have no desire to lose an ‘issue’ that reliably brings them millions of votes in every national election.”

    Best article I’ve read on the national pro-life political scene:
    http://catholicism.about.com/b/2012/01/22/put-not-your-trust-in-princes.htm

  • Marie

    “Republican politicians, just as surely as Democratic ones, have no desire to lose an ‘issue’ that reliably brings them millions of votes in every national election.”

    Best article I’ve read on the national pro-life political scene:
    http://catholicism.about.com/b/2012/01/22/put-not-your-trust-in-princes.htm

  • http://homewardbound-cb.blogspot.com ChrisB

    Unfortunately there will be a lot of noise and drama (and probably 3rd party voting) over something the president has little power to affect. He’s obviously trying to woo pro-choice “undecideds,” and this is intended to make them more comfortable voting for him. Does it annoy me? Yes. Will I still vote for him? Yes.

  • http://homewardbound-cb.blogspot.com ChrisB

    Unfortunately there will be a lot of noise and drama (and probably 3rd party voting) over something the president has little power to affect. He’s obviously trying to woo pro-choice “undecideds,” and this is intended to make them more comfortable voting for him. Does it annoy me? Yes. Will I still vote for him? Yes.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.”

    Well, I’m glad for that. The president has no business having “legislation” of any type on his agenda. That’s the job of Congress.

    Let’s hope that what would be on his agenda is reining in the various federal bureaucracies and their onerous rules and regulations that enslave us Americans.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.”

    Well, I’m glad for that. The president has no business having “legislation” of any type on his agenda. That’s the job of Congress.

    Let’s hope that what would be on his agenda is reining in the various federal bureaucracies and their onerous rules and regulations that enslave us Americans.

  • Jon

    As you suggested, Dr. Veith, Romney is surely a much better choice on the issue than Obama.

    Also, let’s remember that politicians have to say different things to different audiences. Here, he was talking to a liberal Des Moines news paper. Maybe he was trying to woo some of those 47%ers.

    I’m sure it would not be the same thing he would say to a room full of Susan B. Anthony Listers.

    Anyways, I already cast my ballot in absentia. So nothing any of them says going forward will change my mind. Buyers remorse, perhaps, but there you go.

  • Jon

    As you suggested, Dr. Veith, Romney is surely a much better choice on the issue than Obama.

    Also, let’s remember that politicians have to say different things to different audiences. Here, he was talking to a liberal Des Moines news paper. Maybe he was trying to woo some of those 47%ers.

    I’m sure it would not be the same thing he would say to a room full of Susan B. Anthony Listers.

    Anyways, I already cast my ballot in absentia. So nothing any of them says going forward will change my mind. Buyers remorse, perhaps, but there you go.

  • Abby

    “. . .There’s no legislation with regards to abortion *that I’m familiar with*. . .”

    “If you are pro-life, do Romney’s words make you reconsider supporting him?”

    No.

  • Abby

    “. . .There’s no legislation with regards to abortion *that I’m familiar with*. . .”

    “If you are pro-life, do Romney’s words make you reconsider supporting him?”

    No.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    It’s hard to imagine a Presidential candidate being more pro-abortion and wobbly on freedom of religion than Barack Obama.

    A moderate like Mitt ought to be a shoe-in with such an awful economic climate for so long. That he isn’t suggests something fundamentally shifted in 2008 that puts democracy at risk.

  • http://steadfastlutherans.org/ SAL

    It’s hard to imagine a Presidential candidate being more pro-abortion and wobbly on freedom of religion than Barack Obama.

    A moderate like Mitt ought to be a shoe-in with such an awful economic climate for so long. That he isn’t suggests something fundamentally shifted in 2008 that puts democracy at risk.

  • rlewer

    Most of the things that the presidential candidates debate are not part of the president’s job. It is Congress that passes legislation. The president can only decide to sign or to veto. He can lead and propose but he cannot decide.

    As a practical matter, abortion will not be decided by law unless a lot of people on the other side can be convinced. The scientific truth must somehow break through the media. Repealing Roe v. Wade, would not outlaw abortion. It would only return the argument and the laws to the state level.

  • rlewer

    Most of the things that the presidential candidates debate are not part of the president’s job. It is Congress that passes legislation. The president can only decide to sign or to veto. He can lead and propose but he cannot decide.

    As a practical matter, abortion will not be decided by law unless a lot of people on the other side can be convinced. The scientific truth must somehow break through the media. Repealing Roe v. Wade, would not outlaw abortion. It would only return the argument and the laws to the state level.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    A moderate like Mitt ought to be a shoe-in with such an awful economic climate for so long. That he isn’t suggests something fundamentally shifted in 2008 that puts democracy at risk.

    That seems fairly accurate. We have ever more people who ask what the country can do for them than what they can do for their country. The welfare state works better when their are more givers than takers, but is creates a climate that encourages taking over giving.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    A moderate like Mitt ought to be a shoe-in with such an awful economic climate for so long. That he isn’t suggests something fundamentally shifted in 2008 that puts democracy at risk.

    That seems fairly accurate. We have ever more people who ask what the country can do for them than what they can do for their country. The welfare state works better when their are more givers than takers, but is creates a climate that encourages taking over giving.

  • Jon H.

    Romney’s doing what every GOP nominee does – pander to the anti-abortion faction to get the nomination (sign the Personhood Amendment, vow to defund Planned Parenthood and to have Roe v. Wade reversed), then disavow that rhetoric during the general campaign.

    The anti-abortion faction will be disappointed, but they will say, like they always do, well, he’s better than the Democrat and so they will vote GOP. If the GOP nominee wins the election, he shuns the anti-abortion rhetoric while in office. His focus is solely on re-election, since he’s assured of being re-nominated.

    Same game for 40 years, same results. P. T. Barnum had a word for such voters.

  • Jon H.

    Romney’s doing what every GOP nominee does – pander to the anti-abortion faction to get the nomination (sign the Personhood Amendment, vow to defund Planned Parenthood and to have Roe v. Wade reversed), then disavow that rhetoric during the general campaign.

    The anti-abortion faction will be disappointed, but they will say, like they always do, well, he’s better than the Democrat and so they will vote GOP. If the GOP nominee wins the election, he shuns the anti-abortion rhetoric while in office. His focus is solely on re-election, since he’s assured of being re-nominated.

    Same game for 40 years, same results. P. T. Barnum had a word for such voters.

  • helen

    rlewer @ 13
    Most of the things that the presidential candidates debate are not part of the president’s job. It is Congress that passes legislation. The president can only decide to sign or to veto. He can lead and propose but he cannot decide.

    Many of the really bad [rules, if not law] that we live under today have come about by “Executive Order” because congress does NOT pass legislation. They don’t even declare war anymore.
    What they do best is collect their salaries, supplemented by lobbyists donations “to their campaigns”, followed by life long dependence on government for better retirements and insurance than any of the rest of us will ever see.
    The major moochers in this country are elected officials, followed by their unelected staff.

  • helen

    rlewer @ 13
    Most of the things that the presidential candidates debate are not part of the president’s job. It is Congress that passes legislation. The president can only decide to sign or to veto. He can lead and propose but he cannot decide.

    Many of the really bad [rules, if not law] that we live under today have come about by “Executive Order” because congress does NOT pass legislation. They don’t even declare war anymore.
    What they do best is collect their salaries, supplemented by lobbyists donations “to their campaigns”, followed by life long dependence on government for better retirements and insurance than any of the rest of us will ever see.
    The major moochers in this country are elected officials, followed by their unelected staff.

  • rlewer

    Congressional elections are important. Maybe we can even get a Senate that will pass a budget.

  • rlewer

    Congressional elections are important. Maybe we can even get a Senate that will pass a budget.

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    I have been “cynical” about Romney’s stand on several issues -
    The LIFE issue is the one upon which I am most focused!
    C-CS
    LA LFL

  • http://carolmsblog.blogspot.com/ C-Christian Soldier

    I have been “cynical” about Romney’s stand on several issues -
    The LIFE issue is the one upon which I am most focused!
    C-CS
    LA LFL

  • DonS

    As has been said above, there is no legislation at the federal level to be passed related to abortion. The Hyde Amendment remains law, prohibiting the direct use of federal funds for abortions, and Romney has stated that he would resume the prohibition of federal funding for international abortions by executive order, as has traditionally been the case.

    Abortion should be a state law issue, and should Roe v. Wade be rightly overturned, that is where it will return.

  • DonS

    As has been said above, there is no legislation at the federal level to be passed related to abortion. The Hyde Amendment remains law, prohibiting the direct use of federal funds for abortions, and Romney has stated that he would resume the prohibition of federal funding for international abortions by executive order, as has traditionally been the case.

    Abortion should be a state law issue, and should Roe v. Wade be rightly overturned, that is where it will return.

  • CRB

    Being a Mormon, could he really be “soft” on abortion? Hmm?

  • CRB

    Being a Mormon, could he really be “soft” on abortion? Hmm?

  • Kyralessa

    Romney’s not *going* soft on abortion. He’s *always* been soft on abortion. Have a look:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitt_romney#Political_positions

  • Kyralessa

    Romney’s not *going* soft on abortion. He’s *always* been soft on abortion. Have a look:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitt_romney#Political_positions

  • Michael B.

    “As a practical matter, abortion will not be decided by law unless a lot of people on the other side can be convinced”

    Most people on the pro-life side aren’t even convinced that abortion is murder (let alone the other side). They may see abortion as a vice, like gambling or prostitution, but not murder. As just one example, reading an earlier post to a link about sidewalk counselors — do you think if a person were going to actually murder their own kid, they’d be on the sidewalk talking nicely to them?

  • Michael B.

    “As a practical matter, abortion will not be decided by law unless a lot of people on the other side can be convinced”

    Most people on the pro-life side aren’t even convinced that abortion is murder (let alone the other side). They may see abortion as a vice, like gambling or prostitution, but not murder. As just one example, reading an earlier post to a link about sidewalk counselors — do you think if a person were going to actually murder their own kid, they’d be on the sidewalk talking nicely to them?

  • CRB

    Kyralessa,
    Thank you!

  • CRB

    Kyralessa,
    Thank you!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    As just one example, reading an earlier post to a link about sidewalk counselors — do you think if a person were going to actually murder their own kid, they’d be on the sidewalk talking nicely to them?

    If you don’t talk nicely, you will promptly be arrested.

    Do you honestly think that you can just harass people with impunity?

    What planet are you on?

    Protestors of all kinds get arrested all the time. Haven’t you ever seen TV? Do you really think it would be effective to charge at people screaming?

    So ridiculous.

    Plenty of insecure women who are being pressured by boyfriends and family to abort their babies just need someone to care and listen and give them some confidence and help. That is what crisis pregnancy centers and sidewalk counselors do. They don’t scream at women like pro abortion boyfriends and families do.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    As just one example, reading an earlier post to a link about sidewalk counselors — do you think if a person were going to actually murder their own kid, they’d be on the sidewalk talking nicely to them?

    If you don’t talk nicely, you will promptly be arrested.

    Do you honestly think that you can just harass people with impunity?

    What planet are you on?

    Protestors of all kinds get arrested all the time. Haven’t you ever seen TV? Do you really think it would be effective to charge at people screaming?

    So ridiculous.

    Plenty of insecure women who are being pressured by boyfriends and family to abort their babies just need someone to care and listen and give them some confidence and help. That is what crisis pregnancy centers and sidewalk counselors do. They don’t scream at women like pro abortion boyfriends and families do.

  • Kyralessa

    @Michael B,

    Suppose the law permitted parents to kill their children at up to a year of age. Would we be able to scream at people or physically restrain them to keep them from doing it? Would we be able to kidnap children to keep them from being put to death by their parents? We’d get arrested, and they’d do it anyhow. If the law permits something that’s morally wrong, then what recourse do we have, other than attempting to convince people not to do it?

  • Kyralessa

    @Michael B,

    Suppose the law permitted parents to kill their children at up to a year of age. Would we be able to scream at people or physically restrain them to keep them from doing it? Would we be able to kidnap children to keep them from being put to death by their parents? We’d get arrested, and they’d do it anyhow. If the law permits something that’s morally wrong, then what recourse do we have, other than attempting to convince people not to do it?

  • Other Gary

    MichaelB @ 22: “Most people on the pro-life side aren’t even convinced that abortion is murder (let alone the other side). ”

    I am fairly sure you’re correct. Doubtless a VERY sizable minority (but I’d guess a minority nonetheless) on the pro-life side DO believe any and every instance of abortion is murder, but probably that still leaves a majority who don’t. Instead of black-and-white murder, they see an enormously difficult moral issue where the rights and well-being of the mother are opposed to the survival “rights” of the fetus. Many pro-lifers do NOT equate all abortions with murder. They still consider themselves pro-life (or anti-abortion), and they still favor an overturning of Roe v. Wade, but they would not call a woman who has had an abortion a conspirator to a murder. So if you feel you have to, you can call them *inconsistent* pro-lifers, but they remain pro-lifers who refuse to automatically voter for the “pro-life” candidate.

  • Other Gary

    MichaelB @ 22: “Most people on the pro-life side aren’t even convinced that abortion is murder (let alone the other side). ”

    I am fairly sure you’re correct. Doubtless a VERY sizable minority (but I’d guess a minority nonetheless) on the pro-life side DO believe any and every instance of abortion is murder, but probably that still leaves a majority who don’t. Instead of black-and-white murder, they see an enormously difficult moral issue where the rights and well-being of the mother are opposed to the survival “rights” of the fetus. Many pro-lifers do NOT equate all abortions with murder. They still consider themselves pro-life (or anti-abortion), and they still favor an overturning of Roe v. Wade, but they would not call a woman who has had an abortion a conspirator to a murder. So if you feel you have to, you can call them *inconsistent* pro-lifers, but they remain pro-lifers who refuse to automatically voter for the “pro-life” candidate.

  • CRB

    Interesting interview here with Dr. Uwe Siemon-netto, who says that those who vote for someone who promotes abortion are participating in evil.

    http://issuesetc.org/2012/10/15/2-the-trivialization-of-abortion-in-american-politics-church-and-state-in-germany-dr-uwe-siemon-netto-101512/

  • CRB

    Interesting interview here with Dr. Uwe Siemon-netto, who says that those who vote for someone who promotes abortion are participating in evil.

    http://issuesetc.org/2012/10/15/2-the-trivialization-of-abortion-in-american-politics-church-and-state-in-germany-dr-uwe-siemon-netto-101512/

  • Michael B.

    @sg and @ Kyralessa

    “Plenty of insecure women who are being pressured by boyfriends and family to abort their babies just need someone to care and listen and give them some confidence and help. That is what crisis pregnancy centers and sidewalk counselors do. They don’t scream at women”…

    If a woman were about to kill a real person, like a 1-year old baby, I bet you’d have a slightly different response. For example, I don’t think we’d see a raised voice as out of the question. :)

  • Michael B.

    @sg and @ Kyralessa

    “Plenty of insecure women who are being pressured by boyfriends and family to abort their babies just need someone to care and listen and give them some confidence and help. That is what crisis pregnancy centers and sidewalk counselors do. They don’t scream at women”…

    If a woman were about to kill a real person, like a 1-year old baby, I bet you’d have a slightly different response. For example, I don’t think we’d see a raised voice as out of the question. :)

  • Kyralessa

    @Michael B, you seem to be having trouble with this analogy. I’d also stop a physician who was about to perform an abortion on the street in front of me. But if killing one’s less-than-one-year-old were a practice enshrined by law, then it probably wouldn’t happen in abrupt on-the-street beatings, but in clinics through lethal injection or something. And we’d have to combat it the same way we do abortion.

  • Kyralessa

    @Michael B, you seem to be having trouble with this analogy. I’d also stop a physician who was about to perform an abortion on the street in front of me. But if killing one’s less-than-one-year-old were a practice enshrined by law, then it probably wouldn’t happen in abrupt on-the-street beatings, but in clinics through lethal injection or something. And we’d have to combat it the same way we do abortion.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    If a woman were about to kill a real person, like a 1-year old baby, I bet you’d have a slightly different response. For example, I don’t think we’d see a raised voice as out of the question.

    So incredibly stupid.

    Let’s see instances where someone stopped someone from killing “real” persons. Well, there was the security guard at the FRC building who himself got shot in the process. Then there was the Batman movie killer that nobody managed to stop. He was arrested out back by SWAT officers. Yeah, most people cower when confronted by murderers. They don’t confront them at all. Maybe it is some gut reaction to killers.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    If a woman were about to kill a real person, like a 1-year old baby, I bet you’d have a slightly different response. For example, I don’t think we’d see a raised voice as out of the question.

    So incredibly stupid.

    Let’s see instances where someone stopped someone from killing “real” persons. Well, there was the security guard at the FRC building who himself got shot in the process. Then there was the Batman movie killer that nobody managed to stop. He was arrested out back by SWAT officers. Yeah, most people cower when confronted by murderers. They don’t confront them at all. Maybe it is some gut reaction to killers.


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