Romney supported abortion rights during his 2003 election as governor. Prior to that, in his 1994 Senate campaign against Ted Kennedy, Romney's ambivalent stance on the topic prompted Kennedy to mock his position as "multiple choice." While seeking the GOP nomination to run for president, Romney changed gears again, claiming he opposed abortion except in cases of rape, incest or to save the mother's life. In June, he doubled down on that rhetoric when he expressed his desire to overturn the landmark Supreme Court decision in Roe vs. Wade, which legalized pregnancy termination. But more recently, trying to woo a base grounded in the political center, Romney told an Iowa newspaper there was "no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda." Conservative groups pounced immediately.
Romney's already dubious position on abortion became a legitimate controversy when the Huffington Post reported that Bain Capital -- Romney's private equity firm -- had invested $75 million to purchase Stericycle. Bain attempted to suppress Romney's involvement by saying he left the company in February 1999, about eight months before the acquisition. But investigative journalists with Mother Jones obtained documents filed by Bain with the Securities and Exchange Commission that exposed Romney as an "active participant" in the deal.
On Monday, the eve of the second debate, Romney himself addressed the public to stifle the unrest brewing over the issue.
"Believe it or not, abortion is as much about economic morality as spiritual morality," Romney said. "I acquired Stericycle in a manner consistent with my belief that abortion is wrong except in cases of rape, incest and grave health threats."
Romney justified his purchase of Stericycle as an economic and moral decision.
"Having spent a considerable amount of my youth in Mexico, I saw a lot of Americans crossing the border to get cheap abortions," Romney explained, trying to manufacture a tear and dramatically wipe it away. "These were unsafe, back alley procedures. Morally, I was worried about the health of the mothers. Economically, I was duty bound to prevent the outsourcing of American abortions. So I bought Stericycle and -- I'm going to tell you before it hits the newspapers -- invested heavily in family planning centers. By doing this, I helped bring quality abortions and profits back to the United States -- not a competing foreign market that manipulates its currency like China. And with the higher caliber of safety and performance, the survival rate for these women climbed back toward 100 percent. So I did not flip-flop on my beliefs. I supported abortion in this instance because it saved mothers' lives, as well as the livelihood of the economy Barack Obama tried to abort with his socialist coat hanger."
Romney also brought up his contentious New York Times article, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt," as more evidence to support his anti-abortion, pro-life views.
"President Obama and Vice President Biden have made much ado about this piece," Romney pointed out with a smirk. "Without the government bailout, the failing and mismanaged automotive industry would have been forced to carry its malformed child to term. But then it would have had the chance to shape it, care for it properly and raise it into a fine, productive member of society. President Obama's tax-funded bailout guaranteed the industry's demise. He killed the budding life within and all its potential. He gave Detroit -- and the American dream -- an abortion. There was no rape, no incest, no threat to the mother. So again, my anti-abortion position, both ethically and economically, couldn't be clearer. The president, however, is a turkey baster-wielding psychopath who must be stopped before he takes another innocent life."
(c) 2012. See disclaimers.