Abortion is a touchy subject. In American politics, it continues to be one of the most flammable social issues, with pro-life and pro-choice sentiment often driving voter perception of Republican and Democratic candidates, alike.
As TheBlaze noted earlier this year, the nation is starkly divided on the issue, with pro-life sentiment seemingly capturing the majority of Americans' perceptions on the subject (50 percent of the nation is pro-life, with 41 percent claiming to be pro-choice in 2012). With the election just weeks away, GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney may be attempting to temper independent and left-of-center voters' worries, claiming that he won't pursue abortion legislation if elected president.
In a move that The Wall Street Journal claims shows the candidate is making a "shift to the center," Romney told The Des Moines Register's editorial board that abortion isn't on his legislative radar at the moment. While this may rile some social conservatives who hope to see Roe vs. Wade one-day overturned, considering the economic issues the nation faces, this shift away from the social debate is understandable.
"There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda," he told the board, while trying to get their endorsement.
While maintaining his pro-life sentiment, Romney said that he wouldn't go the legislative route and that he, instead, would ban U.S. foreign aid dollars from being allocated for the purposes of abortion. It didn't take long for the Obama campaign to seize upon the comments, claiming that Romney was contradicting past statements he made about the actions he would take on abortion.
The Des Moines Register has more:
The Obama campaign quickly seized on Romney’s abortion comments Tuesday, sending out a news release accusing Romney of contradicting himself because he has said he would appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade.
Obama’s Iowa spokeswoman, Erin Seidler argued that Romney contradicted himself because has said he supports the Hyde Amendment, which broadly bars the use of federal funds for abortions.
However, the Hyde Amendment is already part of current law. And Romney has said he would appoint justices who are not activist judges.
"We know the truth about where he stands on a woman's right to choose: He's said he'd be delighted to sign a bill banning all abortions, and called Roe v. Wade 'one of the darkest moments in Supreme Court history,' while pledging to appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn it. Women simply can't trust him," Obama spokeswoman Lis Smith said, according to The Associated Press.
These claims were flatly rejected by Romney campaign officials who said that the candidate did not contract himself. However, spokesperson Andrea Paul's statements following Romney's comments to the editorial board did raise some questions among liberals.
"Mitt Romney is proudly pro-life and will be a pro-life president," Paul said, going on to also claim that Romney "would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life." The Huffington Post is claiming that this is evidence that the campaign had to "walk back" Romney's "surprise" comments. But -- is this the case?
It's important to note that Romney told The Des Moines Register that he wouldn't be making any anti-abortion legislation part of his agenda. Paul's comment merely states that he would support legislation that "provides greater protections for life."
There's not necessarily a conflict here, seeing as Romney, should he become president, may decide to sign pro-life legislation that comes his way. In his comments to the board, the Republican candidate might have been simply explaining that he will not be actively pushing such legislation himself.
Semantics or a flip-flop? You decide.