In the aftermath of the interview in which Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin outed the GOP’s misogynistic policies on reproductive health care, both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have been running around the country acting offended and aggrieved. They have gone out of their way to try and convince the media that they don’t share Akin’s views, and now Mitt Romney has been all over the place stating his support for an abortion ban with exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother. (I am putting aside here the fact that I believe creating exceptions for access to abortion care is totally unacceptable.)
The media has been parroting Romney’s new abortion conversion for two days now. Today in the Washington Post, for example, Ezra Klein wrote:
The Todd Akin controversy has highlighted the divide between anti-abortion politicians like Mitt Romney who support exemptions allowing women to terminate pregnancies caused by rape or incest and those like Akin and Paul Ryan who argue that the procedure should only be allowed when a mother’s life is at risk.
An ABC OTUS/Yahoo News piece stated:
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Romney believes abortion should be legal in cases of abortion or incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger. Ryan’s previous position only extended exceptions to protecting the mother’s life.
Throughout the day today, numerous MSNBC anchors, commentators, and reporters repeated Romney the line that Romney supported exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother.
There is only one problem with this. He doesn’t.
Romney has stated repeatedly that he would sign a personhood or “sanctity of life” law. Such laws allow no exceptions for abortion. None. Period.
Personhood/sanctity of human life laws pushed by a radical anti-choice movement are complete abortion bans. They would also ban emergency contraception, many widely used forms of hormonal contraception, in-vitro fertilization, and medical treatment for pregnant women even in cases where her life is imminently in danger. In fact, such a law is responsible for the death of a pregnant teen in the Dominican Republic two weeks ago, who was denied treatment for leukemia because she was pregnant. Both she and the baby died. Such laws also criminalize miscarriage and would land women suspecting of self-inducing abortion in jail. Indeed, this is already happening in the United States, but that is a different article.
This is the exact law Mitt Romney has said, unequivocally, that he would sign. The 2012 GOP platform asserts that legal personhood begins at conception. Translation: a fertilized egg (zygote), blastocyst, embryo, fetus all are deemed as persons with full constitutional protections, and the rights of such “egg-persons” in practice trump those of the women in whose body they reside and on whose body they depend.
Again, Romney has said that he supports this law, unequivocally.
In 2007, writes Teddy Davis of ABCNews.com:
“Romney was asked by George Stephanopoulos if he supports the Republican Party’s 2004 platform on abortion rights, which states, “We support a Human Life Amendment to the Constitution and we endorse legislation to make it clear that the 14th Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”
Romney replied, “You know, I do support the Republican platform, and I support that being part of the Republican platform and I’m pro-life.”
Romney also told Mike Huckabee that he would “absolutely” support a personhood amendment.
In an October 2011 article, ThinkProgress’s Alex Seitz-Wald wrote:
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) told Fox News host Mike Huckabee this weekend that he would support an amendment to his state’s constitution to define life as beginning at conception, which would outlaw abortion and potentially many forms of contraceptionas well. Noting that the state supreme court forced the inclusion of abortion coverage in Romney’s universal health care law, the GOP presidential front-runner said the only way to undo the decision would be a constitutional amendment. Asked if he would support such a move, Romney replied, “absolutely”:
HUCKABEE: Would you have supported a constitutional amendment that would have established definition of life beginning of life at conception?
In the aftermath of the Akin debacle, Romney now asserts he believes there should be exceptions in law for rape, incest, and life of the mother. That he has a new position this week on the right to safe abortion care is not surprising, given he has changed his position so many times it is difficult to keep track. But Mitt Romney is on the record many times as saying he “unequivocally” supports a personhood/human life law, which unequivocally bans abortion and as per above hormonal contraception and other critical health interventions. If Romney wins this election in November it will be in large part because of the support of radical anti-choice groups to whom he will owe a debt. Anyone who thinks they will not press their case, hard, for passing such a law has been living on another planet for the last 20 years. We’ve seen Paul Ryan co-sponsor and vote to pass a human life amendment, and virtually the entire Republican caucus in the House vote in favor of such bans.
Either Mitt Romney is very confused and does not understand the grave implications for women of the laws for which he is espousing support, or he is lying, or both.
The media should not be helping him out.