WASHINGTON — A top adviser to Mitt Romney defended the GOP presidential nominee Sunday against accusations he was changing positions on abortion, saying Romney was a “pro-life candidate” and would serve as a “pro-life president.”
Ed Gillespie, speaking to CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley on “State of the Union,” said that was a long-standing position for the Republican candidate.
“What the governor has consistently said is that he thinks Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and this is something that should be left to elected representatives, to the people through their elected representatives,” Gillespie said, referring to the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision affirming a woman’s right to have an abortion.
Last week, Romney told The Des Moines Register’s editorial board that he was not aware of any abortion legislation he would promote as part of his agenda as president.
“There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda,” Romney said in an interview with the newspaper.
Democrats claimed that was a reversal for the candidate, who maintained during the GOP primary season that he would support efforts to remove funding for Planned Parenthood, a women’s health group that provides abortion services. Several House Republicans have introduced legislation that would strip funding from the group.
Romney has also said that for any Supreme Court vacancies, he would nominate candidates who would support overturning Roe v. Wade.
On Sunday, Gillespie pointed to Romney’s vow in the Register interview to re-enact the Mexico City policy, a provision that prohibits U.S. federal aid dollars from funding abortion services in other countries. The policy has generally been implemented by Republican administrations and dropped by Democratic presidents. President Barack Obama rescinded it shortly after taking office in 2009.
“It’s an important issue in terms of taxpayer funding for abortion,” Gillespie said on CNN.
He said the abortion issue would continue to play a role in the closing weeks of the campaign.
“Life is a very important issue in this election, as is the economy, as is national security. All these issues always play a very important role,” Gillespie said.
CNN’s Greg Wallace contributed to this report.