Mitt Romney is no stranger to shifting positions on reproductive rights, but even for him, his latest move is audacious. In an ad released today, he simply denies that he’s ever held conservative positions on contraception and abortion:
If you can’t watch videos, here’s what the narrator says:
“You know, those ads saying Mitt Romney would ban all abortions and contraceptions seemed a bit extreme, so I looked into it. Turns out, Romney doesn’t oppose contraception at all. In fact, he thinks abortion should be an option in cases of rape, incest, and to save a mother’s life.”
It’s hard to definitively say that this isn’t true, because Romney has been intentionally vague about where he stands on these issues. His website says that he is “pro-life,” “believes the right next step is for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade,” and supports the “Hyde Amendment,” which bars the use of federal funds for abortion. There’s no mention of exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother.
Over the last two years, while running for the Republican presidential nomination, Romney has declared support for efforts to “prohibit federal funding for any organization like Planned Parenthood,” and told conservatives that he supports a constitutional amendment banning abortion. Romney has also expressed support for “personhood amendments”; laws that define fertilized eggs as legal “persons,” and open the door to abortion bans and bans on certain kinds of contraception. And earlier this year, he gave a thumbs up to the Blunt amendment, which would have allowed employers to refuse to cover any health-care service for religious or moral reasons.
And that is to say nothing of his running mate, Paul Ryan, who has an extremely right-wing record on issues of choice.
Now, if you’re willing to just forget the previous 24 months, then I guess you could say that Romney is a moderate on contraception and reproductive rights. But if you believe in holding presidential candiates to their word—or at least, taking their stated positions seriously—then the evidence points to a White House that would sign abortion restrictions, appoint anti-abortion judges, and reverse efforts to provide affordable contraceptives.
When Romney tells voters that he’s more reasonable than he looks, they shouldn’t believe him.