FactCheck: Obama Campaign Misleading About Romney, Abortion

National   Steven Ertelt   Aug 24, 2012   |   3:43PM    Washington, DC

The Obama campaign is misleading, in attacks on Mitt Romney and Republicans about abortion, according to the FactCheck.org web site run by the University of Pennsylvania.

The Obama campaign is falsely accusing the Republican Party’s platform of calling for banning abortions even in cases of rape or incest. That’s not true. The 2012 platform is silent on exceptions — leaving that decision up to Congress and the states — just as it was in 2008 and in previous presidential election years.

To make matters worse, the latest falsehood comes from the president’s “Truth Team.” An Aug. 20 posting on the “Truth Team’s” site repeats a bogus claim that Mitt Romney would “ban abortion even in cases of rape or incest,” adding (our emphasis): “He also supports the Republican Party platform, which includes a Human Life Amendment that bans abortion without those exceptions.”

The fact is, as we’ve noted again and again in response to false Obama TV ads, Romney has consistently said — as far back as 2005 — that he would allow abortions in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother. (Before then, he supported a legal right to abortion generally, but switched his position to opposing abortion, with the usual exceptions.)

It’s true that Romney has voiced support for the 2008 platform’s call for an unspecified “Human Life Amendment” to the Constitution, and the language approved by the party’s platform committee for 2012 is identical. But that’s a far cry from advocating an abortion ban that would apply in cases of rape or incest.

As we’ve said before, there have been numerous versions of human life amendments proposed over the years, some of which include exceptions for rape and incest and some of which don’t. For details, see our July 31 item, “Falsifying Romney’s Abortion Stance, Again.” Most of these amendments didn’t get out of committee.

The plain fact is, the only human life amendment that ever came to a vote in either house of Congress allowed exceptions. That was a 1983 measure, S.J.Res 3, sponsored by Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and co-sponsored by Democratic Sen. Thomas Eagleton of Missouri, among others.

Factcheck concludes that Obama campaign ads “stubbornly persist in claiming that Romney and now his party’s platform take an unpopular position that they don’t actually endorse.”

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This comes after CNN’s Anderson Cooper took the Democratic party’s national chair to task for misquoting a news story to falsely attack Romney on abortion.