Ezra Klein on the Nixonian Romney Campaign
Jack Hitt Watches the Republican Convention

Mitt Romney: Four Abortion Positions

No More Mister Nice Blog:

[W]e know that when Romney was running for office in Massachusetts, he was pro-choice. That was position #1.

Since then, he's had three others. In this campaign cycle, at one point when he was asked by Mike Huckabee on Fox News whether he would have supported "a constitutional amendment that would have established the definition of life at conception" -- which, by definition would make all abortions murder -- Romney said, Absolutely." That's #2.

His official position on abortion (#3) has been one of opposition except in cases of rape and incest, and to protect the life of the mother -- but not her health. So what Romney said to Scott Pelley of CBS appears to be his third abortion position of the campaign, and his fourth since he entered public life. A shift on the health exception is not trivial… Ryan said a health exception to a bill banning "partial-birth" abortion would be "a loophole wide enough to drive a mack truck through. The health exception would render this ban virtually meaningless." Anti-abortion absolutists hate the health exemption. As one anti-abortion site puts it:

Pro-abortion doctors have for years considered a "troubled mind" an "impairment of a major bodily function." That is why pro-abortionists pretend to accept "moderate" measures, as long as they include a "health" exception; they know that the exception can be used to allow any abortion at all.

So which of Mitt Romney's three recent positions on abortion should we really believe he holds? Which should religious right voters believe he holds?

In the interview airing tonight, Romney also says this: "Recognize this is the decision that will be made by the Supreme Court," he said. "The Democrats try and make this a political issue every four years, but this is a matter in the courts. It's been settled for some time in the courts." Except that he wrote in 2011 that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and contrary to the Constitution. He vowed to appoint only judges who'd uphold the Constitution (as he reads it). So won't the Supreme Court after a few years of a Romney presidency conclude that Roe is unconstitutional and overturn it?

On the other hand, if I were anti-abortion, right now I'd be saying: So, Mitt, you really believe Roe is settled law? And you want my vote? Seriously?