Who’s Zoomin’ Who On Abortion?

I noted yesterday that in an effort to dial back the abortion policy speculation unleashed by the selection of Paul Ryan as his running-mate, exacerbated by Todd Akin’s unhelpful comments on “legitimate rape,” Mitt Romney seemed to be saying abortion wasn’t really an issue in the campaign and was a judicial issue anyway.

Somebody must have given him a poll showing vulnerability on this subject, because now we have his sister giving an interview and promising us all that nothing would endanger abortion rights in a Romney Administration:

Mitt Romney’s eldest sister, who has backed prominent Democrats for office and is in Tampa showing support for her brother, had some reassuring words Wednesday for women concerned about the Republican Party’s hard line on abortion.

Mitt Romney would never make abortions illegal as president, Jane Romney said when National Journal asked her about the subject after a “Women for Mitt” event. “He’s not going to be touching any of that,” she said. “It’s not his focus.”

Wonder if anyone’s told that to the antichoice commissars who would have undoubtedly found a way to veto Mitt’s nomination if he had vouchsafed such views during the primaries.

Here’s another reminder of what Romney said in an op-ed published by National Review last year entitled “My Pro-Life Pledge:”

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.

I support the reversal of Roe v. Wade, because it is bad law and bad medicine. Roe was a misguided ruling that was a result of a small group of activist federal judges legislating from the bench.

I support the Hyde Amendment, which broadly bars the use of federal funds for abortions. And as president, I will support efforts to prohibit federal funding for any organization like Planned Parenthood, which primarily performs abortions or offers abortion-related services.

I will reinstate the Mexico City Policy to ensure that nongovernmental organizations that receive funding from America refrain from performing or promoting abortion services, as a method of family planning, in other countries. This includes ending American funding for any United Nations or other foreign assistance program that promotes or performs abortions on women around the world.

I will advocate for and support a Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion.

And perhaps most importantly, I will only appoint judges who adhere to the Constitution and the laws as they are written, not as they want them to be written.

As governor of Massachusetts, Romney vetoed an emergency contraceptives bill on “life begins at fertilization” grounds. He’s also supported a constitutional Human Life Amendment that would overturn Roe, though has gone back and forth about exactly which version he would support.

Anyway you slice it, though, Team Mitt is talking out of both sides of various mouths on the subject, and somebody, if not everybody, is getting zoomed. Though no one should be surprised at that phenomenon.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.