Catholic Culture Dedication
Catholic Culture Dedication

Romney, abortion, and the 'health of the mother' exception

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Aug 29, 2012

Pro-lifers take note: In a CBS television interview, Mitt Romney went further than any previous Republican presidential nominee has gone toward accepting legal abortion.

"My position has been clear throughout this campaign," Romney said. "I'm in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother." [emphasis added]

Take careful note of those words in bold. Other Republican presidents have expressed a willingness to accept abortion to save the life of the mother. Such cases are exceedingly rare; some would argue that they do not exist. But concerns about the health of the mother could justify abortion in virtually every case. Has there ever been a mother who didn’t endure some health problems associated with pregnancy?

If Romney’s language makes you nervous—and it should—brace yourself for 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."

The issue is settled, he says. Does that statement fill you with confidence that Romney would seize an opportunity to press the offensive against abortion? Does the GOP candidate sound anxious to appoint federal judges who would be likely to re-open a question that has already been settled?

Watch the whole interview (if you have the stomach), and see if you can detect any clue that a President Romney would fulfill the hopes of his pro-lifer supporters. I can’t. Barack Obama is an implacable foe of the pro-life cause. But Mitt Romney is at best an unreliable ally.

I am not suggesting that pro-lifers should not vote for Romney. I am, however, insisting that pro-lifers should not see Romney as the solution to the problem. Put not your faith in princes.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: joancollins507161 - Sep. 05, 2012 2:45 PM ET USA

    Barack Obama voted for infanticide when he was in the Ohio state legislature. He would appoint federal judges and Supreme Court justices who support abortion and same sex marriage. He would veto any pro-life bills that came his way. Romney, though not perfect, would do none of those things. For those reasons, among many others, I support Romney.

  • Posted by: happyseaotter8027 - Sep. 02, 2012 3:25 PM ET USA

    I am very concerned about this country. I am not happy with either Presidential candidate. I cannot vote for Obama in good conscience. And at this point I have serious concerns about Romney, who appears to be a sham pro-lifer. He seems to be saying that it has already been decided, it's out of his hands, and citizens should be content with that. He is a big disappointment to me, an avid pro-life Catholic.

  • Posted by: Justin8110 - Aug. 29, 2012 10:15 PM ET USA

    Romney is just an establishment Republican who will do whatever it takes to get enough votes to win in order to attend to "business as usual". No doubt he is a better candidate than Obama or at least a better choice for serious Catholics but he is not the man to put this nation on the right path. Sadly, like many other election years we are stuck with two bad candidates that are really both just different shades of "same old, same old" and "business as usual".