Proving how little he knows about the issue of abortion and how little David Gregory cares about the facts, Romney announced a policy position today that has already been in place since 1976. He claimed it was the opposite of the President’s position, but of course, this is not even possible, given current law.
Mitt Romney announced today that he would “reverse the president’s decision on using U.S. funds to pay for abortion outside this country. I don’t think also the taxpayers here should have to pay for abortion in this country.”
No doubt Romney is referring to the fact that rape is a huge problem in the military and women in the military often don’t have access to abortions overseas. Romney and Gregory must not be aware that indeed, US funds do not pay for abortions due to the Hyde Amendment, so this big policy announcement is a complete fail.
Romney: I recognize there are two lives involved: the mom and the unborn child. And I believe that people of good conscience have chosen different paths in this regard. But I am pro-life and will intend, if I’m president of the United States, to encourage pro-life policies.
Gregory asked if he would fight to overturn Roe V Wade (asking the tough questions).
Romney: Well, I don’t actually make the decision the Supreme Court makes and so they’ll have to make their own decision. But, for instance, I’ll reverse the president’s decision on using U.S. funds to pay for abortion outside this country. I don’t think also the taxpayers here should have to pay for abortion in this country. (DING DING DING – False premise, strawman)
Those things I think are consistent with my pro-life position. And I hope to appoint justices for the Supreme Court that will follow the law and the constitution. And it would be my preference that they reverse Roe V. Wade and therefore they return to the people and their elected representatives the decisions with regards to this important issue.
Gregory did not ask how Romney’s position today makes any sense given his endorsement of the Personhood Amendment, which criminalizes birth control and does not provide exceptions for the life of the mother, rape or incest.
This issue matters a great deal to the women of this country, and we’d like a straight answer. But we have been told by Mitt Romney and his wife that this is not an important issue. It’s important to us.
Additionally, Romney’s entire premise that taxpayer funds go to abortions is false and both Gregory and Romney should know better. The Hyde Amendment has been around since 1976 and it prohibits taxpayer funds going to abortions.
Since 1976, the federal government has been guided by the Hyde Amendment, a law that prohibits the use of federal funds for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or when the mother’s life is in peril. Due to that amendment — which must be renewed every year — abortion services are not provided by Medicaid or in health care plans offered to federal employees and for active and retired military.
In case Romney cares, women in the military – whom he just blithely denied access to – have been arguing for the right to access to safe abortions while fighting overseas for a very long time. It’s not just the money issue, but overseas they often can’t find legal abortions. They have been asking for taxpayer coverage for abortions in the case of rape, but they’ve been denied.
Romney should know this, as it was in the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) this year:
In May the Senate Armed Services Committee approved an amendment, introduced by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), that would allow funding for such abortions in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Currently only cases where a woman’s life is in danger are allowed.
“This is about equity,” said Shaheen in a statement at the time. “Civilian women who depend on the federal government for health insurance — whether they are postal workers or Medicaid recipients — have the right to access affordable abortion care if they are sexually assaulted. It is only fair that the thousands of brave women in uniform fighting to protect our freedoms are treated the same.”
However, the House version of the Defense Authorization did not include a similar provision, and previous attempts to reverse the ban have been rejected as well.
PolitiFact has addressed this lie numerous times. Furthermore, ObamaCare does not fund abortions with taxpayer money. If included in a plan, it is covered by premium payments:
“But we think it’s misleading to call it taxpayer-funded abortion when the law requires abortions be paid solely through a portion of the premiums (not tax dollars) paid by people who choose a plan that covers abortions.”
Ironically, through no fault of Mitt Romney’s, RomneyCare did cover abortions (proving that no executive gets to willy-nilly override existing law, which should have been a hint to both Romney and Gregory re the Hyde Amendment):
But because of a 1981 Supreme Judicial Court ruling in Massachusetts, the cost of abortions must be included in publicly subsidized plans. Most private insurance plans in the U.S. include abortion coverage, and the state-subsidized plans in Massachusetts do, too. That includes coverage for Massachusetts residents enrolled in Medicaid.
So it’s true that the plan makes abortion accessible through private insurance plans subsidized by the state. But that’s dictated by a court ruling that long predated Romney’s term as governor.
Abortion: Romneycare enables people to purchase plans that include abortion coverage. Obamacare does as well, but it also lets states opt out and lets individuals buy plans that don’t cover the procedure.
Mitt Romney obviously tried to have his cake and eat it too, and David Gregory rolled out the red carpet for him. Romney is aware of how his policies have alienated women voters, so he tried to walk it back today, taking refuge in platitudes and pre-existing law, while falsely accusing this President of using taxpayer funds for abortions overseas and here. How does this differ from Romney’s position, when he tells us today that suddenly he too cares about the life of the mother?
Only David Gregory knows.
The truth is that the few abortions that are provided via taxpayer funds are only in the case of the life of the mother or rape or incest, but the actual number provided have fallen dramatically due to the confusion over how to prove the woman was raped or molested. Women serving this country overseas, who are fighting for our freedom, do not have access to taxpayer funded abortions even in the case of rape.
If Mitt Romney is running for President, and he is and has been for many years, shouldn’t he know about basic laws like the Hyde Amendment and shouldn’t David Gregory have anticipated this strawman argument since Republicans have been using it so much that it has numerous entries in PolitiFact?
Viewers learned nothing about Mitt Romney today on Meet the Press. But they were treated to a few more unchecked lies about President Obama, and for the politically astute, they were treated to new ways to squirm out of previous policy positions that proved unpopular to a majority of American voters, thanks to the slip of the tongue by legitimate rape Republican star Todd Akin. Romney’s new policy? Why, he’ll stick by the Hyde Amendment, like every other president has to!
What’s Mitt Romney to do when he’s losing the conservative base in Virginia that he needs so desperately? NASCAR, Pat Robertson, and culture war lies, of course. Lie, lie, and lie some more about President Obama’s policies.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.
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