Romney on Abortion

In our November 19 interview with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, we asked him if abortion should be criminalized. Romney answered:

"You know, I don’t see putting doctors and women in jail. I don’t believe that’s ever been part of our history, even when states were able to put in place effective pro-life legislation. I haven’t seen provisions of that nature ever being proposed. But I do believe that the next step that should be taken is to overturn Roe v. Wade, and to no longer have the Supreme Court impose its one-size-fits-all philosophy on the entire nation. There will be steps beyond that, of course, but the next step is to overturn Roe v. Wade."

Romney’s answer was pretty clear: he opposes criminalization but understands that before anything can be done, Roe v. Wade first has to be overturned.

Cybercast News Service wasn’t satisfied with that, and asked Romney’s campaign two questions: “Does Gov. Romney, in fact, not favor giving jail sentences to doctors who are convicted of performing abortions? 2) If Gov. Romney does not favor giving jail sentences to doctors convicted of performing abortions, what punishment, if any, does he envision for abortionists?”

A Romney campaign spokesman told CNS, “Governor Romney does not believe that abortion legislation should punish women who have abortions. Governor Romney recognizes that we must be sensitive to both lives involved in these situations, the unborn child and the mother,” and "The people who should be held accountable for violations of this nature are the people who perform an illegal abortion, the penalties of which could include anything from disciplinary action to incarceration."

Unclear questions produce unclear answers. Last evening, I called Jim Bopp, Gov. Romney’s “life issues” advisor to try to restore clarity to the issue.

I asked Bopp if Romney’s answers to CNS were predicated on overturning Roe v. Wade and he said that of course they were. According to Bopp, it is foreseeable that — once Roe is out of the way — some states would pass laws making some or all abortions illegal. And those laws would be — and should be, in Romney’s judgment — enforced.

Romney’s approach, Bopp told me, would be in stages. First, seek to have the Supreme Court overturn Roe. Second, to let the states take the matter under their own control. Third — as the Republican platform has repeatedly done — to support a Constitutional amendment (a human life amendment) banning abortion.

Romney said that clearly in the HUMAN EVENTS November 19 interview. Asked if he supported a human life amendment, Romney said:

"As an aspirational goal, yes, it’s part of our platform. I would welcome an America where there’s no abortion, and yet I see that, given where we are today, the American people are simply not there. But I do believe the American people would welcome a Supreme Court that follows the Constitution, overturns Roe v. Wade, and returns the right to create pro-life legislation to elected officials. "

Romney’s position is clear: get Roe overturned and let the states govern the question of abortion until a Constitutional amendment can be passed in Congress and ratified by the states.

I’m reminded of the old joke about the guy shipwrecked on a desert island with all sorts of computers and fax machines. He spends hours and hours trying to write the best possible description of his plight and map position so he can be rescued with utmost speed. And then he remembers that he has no electricity.

Come to think of it, Roe is the short-circuit preventing states from dealing with the abortion issue. Once power is restored to the states, they can decide for themselves what will be a crime, and what punishment should be applied. Let’s get the wiring fixed.