With the election nearing its end, the New York Times takes stock of the race for Ohio, noting that President Obama begins the final week before Election Day with a 5-point lead in their latest poll, while "in the closing stages of the race, [Mitt] Romney has taken steps to emphasize the moderate elements of his record." The Times notes that Romney's "campaign was running a television advertisement here on Tuesday reminding voters that he supports abortion rights in the case of rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother," and quotes one of their poll respondents dismissing the notion that a Romney victory would mean returning to "the point where women won't be able to have abortions or birth control is going to be rationed." Unmentioned by the Times, though, were any of the positions Romney's taken or statements he's made that indicate his hostility towards reproductive rights.
From the October 31 New York Times article:
In the closing stages of the race, Mr. Romney has taken steps to emphasize the moderate elements of his record. His campaign was running a television advertisement here on Tuesday reminding voters that he supports abortion rights in the case of rape, incest or to protect the life of the mother. Democratic groups and the Obama campaign countered with their own ads.
The economy remains the top issue on the minds of voters, the poll found, and the ads were dismissed as not relevant by one poll respondent, Dana Hogan of Cincinnati.
"Do I really think we're going to go back to the point where women won't be able to have abortions or birth control is going to be rationed? That's just silly to even think of," said Ms. Hogan, who works at a small company and spoke in a follow-up interview. "Some women do still get really riled up by that, but I think it's just a scare tactic. Really, you think women are that dumb?"
The Times has previously given Romney an assist in reshaping his stance on abortion, allowing the Republican to blunt the edges on the sharp anti-choice rhetoric he used during the Republican primaries. Romney's attempts at late-stage moderation on abortion stand in contrast to his support for overturning Roe v. Wade, his promise to strip Planned Parenthood of all federal funding, his pledge to reinstate the Mexico City Policy banning federal money from going to abortion providers abroad, and his support for anti-abortion legislation.
In fairness to the Times, though, it can be tough to nail down precisely what Romney's position on abortion is at any given moment, given the high degree of mutability he's demonstrated throughout the years.