By John Stark
Mitt Romney’s recent statements on abortion have brought that divisive issue back into the spotlight in the last 48 hours.
In an interview with the Des Moines Register, Romney said there was “no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.”
It’s worth a listen. In this interview, Romney himself introduces the subject and takes pains to refute what he says is the false charge that he opposes all abortions, including in cases of rape, incest and risk to the life of the mother. Romney says he does NOT oppose abortion in those circumstances.
When that remark was interpreted as a shift, on Romney’s part, toward a more moderate position on the pro-life/pro-choice spectrum, he and his campaign people moved quickly to reaffirm the GOP Presidential candidate’s pro-life credentials.
“Soon after his remarks were posted online Tuesday, a Romney spokeswoman told the Associated Press, “Mitt Romney is proudly pro-life, and he will be a pro-life president,” the Los Angeles Times reported. “Gov. Romney would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life,” spokeswoman Andrea Saul said.
Kaiser Health News offers a good list of links to several different news reports about this issue.
State Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-40th, is among 17 sponsors of SB 5274, which would regulate the operations of “pregnancy centers” maintained by pro-life groups that encourage women not to choose abortions. A similar proposal is HB 1366 in the House.
Pro-choice advocates contend that these centers masquerade as health clinics and promote their anti-abortion agenda to women who should be getting information about all their legal and medical options.
According to NARAL, a national pro-choice group, the bill:
- Requires the centers to disclose that they do not provide service or referrals for abortion or comprehensive birth control and that they do not provide medical care for pregnant women.
- Requires the centers to keep any medical information they collect private.
- Requires the centers to provide pregnancy test results immediately.
The groups operating these centers argue that they are now providing millions of dollars’ worth of pregnancy testing and counseling to women in need, and that the provisions of the bill create potentially threatening civil liability for them. Among other things, the bill authorizes civil suits from women who contend they were damaged by the center’s activities, and give courts the power to triple any actual damages awarded.