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Elections & Politics

Romney Flip-Flop Alert: Changes Position on Birth Control and Personhood

Contact: Planned Parenthood Action Fund Media Office, 212-261-4433

For Immediate Release: 10.20.11

At a campaign event in Sioux City, Iowa, this morning, Mitt Romney appeared to flip-flop on his support for a “personhood” amendment. 

Two weeks ago, Mitt Romney, on FOX News, proclaimed his support for a state constitutional amendment commonly called a “personhood” amendment.

See the Video: 

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2011/10/03/334190/mitt-romeny-constitutional-amendment-abortioneption/

As NPR reports, personhood amendments “could threaten the use of a long list of commonly used contraceptives, including some birth control pills and the intrauterine device.”

However, this morning at a town hall event in Sioux City, Iowa, Mitt Romney was asked by an attendee who also works at Planned Parenthood of the Heartland why he supports the “personhood” amendment, which could effectively ban many forms of birth control.

Romney said he supports birth control, because “birth control prevents conception.”

See the video:

http://thinkprogress.org/health/2011/10/20/348941/romney-i-support-birth-control-because-it-prevents-conception/

In stating his support for birth control, Romney appears to be backtracking on his support for the “personhood” amendment.

Voters, especially women, have a simple question for Romney: “What do you really believe when it comes to women’s health?  One week you say you support the ‘personhood’ amendment, meaning you oppose birth control.  The next week, you say you support birth control, meaning you oppose the ‘personhood’ amendment.  Which is it?” 

Think Progress offers a summary of the “personhood” initiative: “A fringe anti-abortion group, Personhood USA, has been startlingly successful at pushing forward legislation across the country that would redefine life as beginning at the moment of fertilization, effectively outlawing contraceptives like birth control pills. Although the medical community has long been in agreement that fertilization does not mark the beginning of a pregnancy — fertilized eggs must first be implanted, and only about half of fertilized eggs actually result in a pregnancy — a growing number of lawmakers are supporting Personhood USA’s efforts to buck medical expertise and legally define life as the moment a sperm meets an egg.”

Mississippi is facing a 2011 ballot initiative that “seeks to define a ‘person’ as beginning at the point of ‘fertilization,’” according to the Clarion Ledger.  If the Mississippi “personhood” ballot initiative passes, the Clarion Ledger reports, “it could outlaw some current fertility treatments, as well as some forms of birth control pills and contraceptive devices, such as the IUD, because they can - in some cases - prevent fertilized eggs from attaching to the womb.”

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.