Throughout the past week, Mitt Romney has attempted to obfuscate his record on women’s health issues. Last Tuesday, he said he isn’t familiar with any anti-abortion legislation in his proposed agenda, despite being on the record as supporting at least three pieces of anti-abortion legislation — a statement which the Romney campaign worked quickly to backtrack, saying that Romney’s new abortion position is “completely consistent” with his record. In fact, Romney’s record on abortion has been everywhere on the map.
And a Virginia mailer from the Romney campaign may serve to further confuse voters about where Romney stands on abortion issues, as it proclaims that a Romney presidency will protect health care “choice”:
As CNN reports, the message across the front of the mailer “looks like something Planned Parenthood might send out to potential supporters.” But according the Romney campaign, the “choice” in question is not about whether women should have autonomy over their own reproductive decisions. Instead, as the mailer explains, it is a reference to the choice that Americans have between President Obama’s landmark health care reform law and Romney’s proposed health care policies. Romney has pledged to repeal Obamacare on his first day in office, and he lays out the contrast between the two candidates on the back of the brochure: “This is a time of choice for the American people. If we’re going to get rid of Obamacare, we’re going to have to replace President Obama. My mission is to make sure we do exactly that.”
However, co-opting the “choice” language within the context of health issues does not serve to illustrate a clear contrast between the two presidential candidates. Instead, it relies on framing that is typically used by advocates for women’s health, further confusing where exactly Romney stands on issues like women’s access to abortion and contraception. Throughout his time as an elected official, Romney has shifted from a pro-choice lawmaker in Massachusetts to a stringently anti-choice member of the GOP party, whose platform endorses a total ban on abortions, depending on the political climate. But even if Romney is attempting to be vague about the details of his anti-choice credentials to convince some female voters that a Romney presidency wouldn’t threaten their reproductive freedom, he has pledged to be — as he clarified last week — a “pro-life president” who will take “pro-life measures.”