A Brief, Exhausting History of Mitt Romney Fighting With Himself About Abortion


Yesterday, Mitt Romney told the Des Moines Register that if he was elected, “there’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.” Records scratched, monocles popped, and hand held objects were dropped in surprise. Wasn’t this the same guy who had been saying, um, the opposite of that, until a week ago? Yes! But it turns out that this is far from the first time Romney has miraculously changed his stance on abortion before our very eyes. Let’s take a journey backward in time through Romney’s magical disappearing/reappearing anti-abortion credentials, rated for pro-lifeness in order of one to five coathangers. Abracadabra!

October 9, 2012, evening

Stance: Following his statement to the Register, a spokesperson for Romney clarified the candidate’s stance, saying “Mitt Romney is proudly pro-life and will be a pro-life president.”
WTF Factor: “Pro-life” is apparently just a title you can give yourself without actually doing anything in accordance with that title. Like “Christian” or “classy.” If being a pro-life President means that you don’t have to use your position as President to push for any pro-life laws, then I guess I’m not sure what “pro-life” even means anymore.
Pro-Life Rating: Two coathangers.

October 9, 2012, evening

StanceThe same Romney spokesperson who “clarified” his stance added, “Governor Romney would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life.”
WTF Factor:: Now we’re cooking with gas! That’s the old Romney I know!
Pro-Life Rating: Three coathangers.

October 9, 2012, day

Stance: “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda,” Romney told an Iowa newspaper before a campaign rally.
WTF Factor: He followed that statement by saying that, as President, he’d sign an executive order banning tax money from supporting organizations that provide women with abortions.
Pro-Life Rating: One coathanger

As of October 9, 2012

Stance: “Mitt believes that life begins at conception and wishes that the laws of our nation reflected that view. But while the nation remains so divided, he believes that the right next step is for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade – a case of blatant judicial activism that took a decision that should be left to the people and placed it in the hands of unelected judges. With Roe overturned, states will be empowered through the democratic process to determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate.” –MittRomney.com
WTF Factor: Hm, that seems kind of… different than what he said yesterday.
Pro-Life Rating: Three coathangers.

August 27th, 2012

Stance: During an interview with CBS, Romney said, “My position has been clear throughout this campaign. I’m in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother.” However, he tempered that hard line stance by conceding that the issue of abortion rights are “settled” and they’ve been settled in the court system for a long time.
WTF Factor: Romney has committed himself to complaining about an unchangeable reality.
Pro-Life Rating: Two and a half coat hangers.

June 29th, 2012

Stance: Speaking to the Ohio Right to Life Convention, Romney said that “innocent life must be respected and protected from its beginning to its natural end…Government sanction of abortion devalues human life.”
WTF Factor: Yeah, fuck you, moms. If you get pregnancy, suck it up.
Pro-Life Rating: Three coathangers, for non-specificity.

March 23, 2012

Stance: On the Tommy Tucker Show in New Orleans, he said, “In terms of my positions, my conservative positions were seen in my work as governor. I wrote a book that describes my view for the country. I’ve run for president before. Had the same positions today that I had when I was governor, when Iwrote the book and when I ran for president last time, so what you see is what you get.”
WTF Factor: When he was running for President “the last time,” he said he’s be “delighted” to sign a bill outlawing all abortions in the country.
Pro-Life Rating: Five coathangers!

February 29th, 2012

Stance: Romney told an Ohio news station, “I’m in favor of a pro-life policy. The legislation that relates to abortion which is something that is going to have to be approved by the Supreme Court and the key decisions I’ll take as the president will be number one, stopping funding for Planned Parenthood, re-instituting the Mexico City policy which says our funds can’t be used for abortion around the world and appointing justices to the Supreme Court thatwill follow the Constitution, hopefully reverse Roe v. Wade, and return to the states, the authority for making law with regards to abortion.”
WTF Factor:If states are allowed to determine their own abortion laws, most of us on the fancy, frilly edges of the country will be spared the uterine crackdown dreamed up in this country’s more science-averse states. But women in places like Mississippi? Utah? Kansas? Well maybe they should have thought about their state’s specific laws around women’s rights before they got pregnant.
Pro-Life Rating: Three coathangers.

January 22nd, 2012

Stance:From his campaign website: “Today marks the 39th anniversary of one of the darkest moments in Supreme Court history, when the court in Roe v. Wade claimed authority over the fundamental question regarding the rights of the unborn. The result is millions of lives since that day have been tragically silenced. Since that day, the pro-life movement has been working tirelessly in an effort to change hearts and minds and protect the weakest and most vulnerable among us. Today, we recommit ourselves to reversing that decision, for in the quiet of conscience, people of both political parties know that more than a million abortions a year cannot be squared with the good heart of America.”
WTF Factor: Wow — “darkest moments”? Millions of lives silenced? He seems to feel pretty damn strongly about how Roe v. Wade is worse than cancer. It would take a pretty ridiculous change of heart, then, or desperate desire to pander in order to get him to totally flip flop on something that seems that near and dear to him within a year, right?
Pro-Life Rating: Four coathangers.

October 8, 2011

Stance: “I will nominate judges who know the difference between personal opinion and law. It is long past time for the Supreme Court to return the issue of abortion back to the states by overturning Roe v. Wade.”
WTF Factor: Who would have thought that a guy who was so pro choice on October 9, 2012 would be so gung-ho about “pro life” judges in 2011? PRESTO CHANGE-O!
Pro-Life Rating: Three coathangers.

Date: October 2011

Stance: When chuckling bigot Mike Huckabee asked Mitt Romney, a guest on his radio show, whether he’d support a constitutional amendment defining human life as beginning at the moment of conception, thus outlawing all abortion and some forms of contraception, Romney replied, “”Absolutely.”
WTF Factor: Personhood is one of the single most batshit ideas ever conceived. No pun intended. How can a governor who would “absolutely” support personhood also be so positive that abortion laws wouldn’t change if he was elected. Aren’t those two things at odds with each other?!
Pro-Life Rating: Five coathangers.

June 18, 2011

Stance: In a piece called, unambiguously, My Pro-Life Pledge that he hastily penned after being accused of not loving fetuses enough the day before (see next entry), Romney wrote, “I support the reversal of Roe v. Wade, because it is bad law and bad medicine.” and “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.”
WTF FactorWomen not being pregnant is “bad medicine?” I guess no one told Romney that women are 14 times more likely to die as a result of complications from pregnancy or childbirth than they are from abortion. Would that make women having an increased risk of death… good? I’m confused. Furthermore, I’m wary of a “pro life” person who says that fetuses are alive, except they’re not alive if the woman was raped or the victim of incest. If you’re going to be a zealot, be a logically consistant zealot. Otherwise, it just sounds like you believe that every time a woman consents to sex, she also consents to pregnancy, and that pregnancy is a legally-enforceable “consequence” of sex.
Pro-Life Rating Four coathangers.

June 17, 2011

Stance: Romney refused to sign the Susan B. Anthony’s List Pro-Life Pledge and raised some conservative eyebrows in the process. The SBA wanted some pretty nutty promises from Republican candidates; according to Politico, the pledge “calls for legislation to defund Planned Parenthood […] and to cut funding to “all other contractors and recipients of federal funds with affiliates that perform or fund abortions.” Romney explained his refusal to sign by saying,
“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.”
WTF Factor: Reasonable. Plus it’s fun to imagine the SBA list getting pissed.
Pro-Life Rating: Zero coathangers. No threat of forced pregnancy here. But just wait one day… (see previous entry)

May 15, 2007

Stance At a Republican primary debate, Romney said, “I’ve always been personally pro-life. I’ve taught that to others, it’s been part of my faith. The question for me was: What should government do in this kind of setting? And the Supreme Court stepped in and took a decision, and I said I’d support that decision. And then I watched the impact of that decision as I was governor of Massachusetts. And when we came to debating cloning and embryo farming and we saw human life, human life rack after rack that’s going to be experimented upon and then disposed, I said Roe v. Wade has gone to such an extent that we’ve cheapened the value of human life. And I believe that a civilized society has to respect the sanctity of human life. And what I’m saying is that, in my view, the people should make this decision, not the court.”
WTF Factor: I’m concerned at this point that Mitt Romney might have some sort of unstable personality disorder. Or, like, bad robot programming. This is getting ridiculous.
Pro-Life Rating: Two and a half coat hangers. With safety tips on the end so Romney doesn’t use them to carve pictures of uteruses on wooden surfaces.

March 2006

Stance When South Dakota’s whackadoodle state government passed a law banning all abortions with no exceptions, Mitt Romney said that if he was presented with similar legislation as governor, he’d sign it, but make sure it had exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother.
WTF Factor: Dude, don’t agree with South Dakota. The people there are wonderful but that government? Insane.
Pro-Life Rating: Four coathangers.

July 26th, 2005

Stance: Then-governor Romney told The Boston Globe “I am pro-life. 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. 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.”
WTF Factor: Currently, a handful of states have trigger laws on the books that would immediately make abortion illegal in the event of Roe v. Wade being overturned.
Pro-Life Rating: Three coathangers.

November 2002

Stance: “As Governor, Mitt Romney would protect the current pro-choice status quo in Massachusetts. No law would change.”
WTF Factor: Seems reasonable. Candidate Romney wasn’t into pissing off electric blue Massachusetts voters; he was into winning.
Pro-Life Rating: Zero coat hangers.

October 1994

Stance: While he was a candidate for Senate against Ted Kennedy, Romney unleashed this debate zinger: “One of the great things about our nation … is that we’re each entitled to have strong personal beliefs, and we encourage other people to do the same. But as a nation, we recognize the right of all people to believe as they want and not to impose our beliefs on other people. I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a U.S. Senate candidate. 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, and the right of a woman to make that choice, and my personal beliefs, like the personal beliefs of other people, should not be brought into a political campaign.”
WTF Factor: Well… that’s extremely reasonable.
Pro-Life Rating: Zero coat hangers

Overall Pro-Life Rating

BANANA coathangers, because what the fuck? Words don’t mean anything anymore. It was a good run, English language, but pack it up. Show’s over.

But here’s the scariest part of Romney’s endless political chameleon-ing: at this point, he could, feasibly, say almost anything and it would be consistent with things he’s said in the past. And his new schtick is working — for now at least. Post-I AM SUDDENLY A MODERATE Y’ALL! debate unveiling, Romney’s experienced a significant bounce in the polls. Pew even put him 4 points ahead of Obama nationally. In fact, acting like Barack Obama has gotten Mitt Romney so much mileage in the polls that for the next debate, I wouldn’t be surprised if advisors were considering coaching the candidate to appear in blackface.

Forget everything you thought you knew about Mitt Romney! There’s a new Mittens in town. A Mittens who doesn’t hate half of the country. A Mittens who was never planning on giving tax cuts to the rich. A Mittens who doesn’t think that uninsured people who get sick should just suck it up and go to the emergency room like a homeless person with a stab wound. But take your motion sickness medicine before you hang with this guy — he flip flops so much he’ll give your uterus motion sickness.

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