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Fact Check Friday: The Truth On Romney, Republicans, And Abortion

(credit: Obama for America)

(credit: Obama for America)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - It’s Fact Check Friday, when we put the Presidential campaign ads under the scrutiny of factcheck.org, a nonpartisan non-profit part of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

LISTEN: Fact Check Friday With Wayne Cabot

Today’s question: Do the Republicans really want to stop all abortion, no matter the circumstance?

WCBS 880 anchor Wayne Cabot spoke with Brooks Jackson, director at factcheck.org.

“Is the Obama campaign correct in what they are saying, that the Republican party platform would ban abortions even in the cases of rape or incest? Is that true?” Cabot asked Jackson.

“No, that’s not true. The platform language that’s been approved by the [Republican National] Committee and will go before the convention is the same as it’s been for many many years,” Jackson said.

“It calls for passage of a human life amendment to the U.S. Constitution. There are many flavors of those amendments. Some would call for a ban on abortion in all cases, without exceptions for rape or incest, but many do not,” he said. “In fact the only one that’s ever come to a vote in the U.S. Congress, it failed in the Senate back in 1983, simply said quote ‘A right to abortion is not secured by this Constitution.’ It was silent as to whether there would be exceptions. That was left up to the states. They could keep abortion legal if they wanted to.”

But how about Mitt Romney himself and the truth of a current ad from the campaign of President Barack Obama campaign?

“Romney backed a bill that outlaws all abortion, even in cases of rape and incest,” the ad’s narrator says, followed by Obama saying, “I’m Barack Obama and I approved this message.”

“True or false?” Cabot asked Jackson.

“False, and that is frankly one of the bigger distortions of the campaign. Mitt Romney, of course, used to be in favor of legal abortion when he was running for governor of Massachusetts and Senate from Massachusetts. He switched sometime before he began running for his party’s nomination [for President],” Jackson said. “He has always, whenever he fully articulated his position, said he was for banning abortion except in cases of rape or incest or to save the life of the mother. That’s been his consistent position.”

“How does the Obama administration get away, intellectually, with making this argument?” asked Cabot.

“Well, what they point to is one interview on CNN, it was a debate actually, when a questioner asked Romney ‘Would you sign a law if you were President that banned all abortions?’ and he gave a very rambling answer. He eventually said yes he would sign such a law, but there was no mention of rape or incest or any other exceptions in there,” Jackson said. “He just didn’t fully articulate his position at the time.”

“When they asked, ‘all abortions?’ he said yes, he would ban all abortions and that could lead one to conclude rape and incest even though he has since articulated otherwise,” queried Cabot.

“Before and after he articulated that and you can put that interpretation on it and that’s what they do, but it’s very clear what his position has been and still is,” said Jackson.