Ohio Democratic women took aim at presidential candidate Mitt Romney Friday morning for his support of an amendment that would significantly alter state laws related to abortion and family planning.
Romney has come out in favor of the so-called personhood amendment, a ballot initiative that would legally establish that human life starts at the moment of conception. Pro-choice Democrats, like Ohio Rep. Betty Sutton, told reporters this morning that Romney's reinforcement of this "extreme and radical step," as she called it, demonstrates his "disturbing lack of authenticity" on the issue.
While he was governor of Massachusetts, Romney had been a vocal proponent of the pro-choice cause. Sutton quotes him saying as governor, "Let me make this very clear: I will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose." But more recently in his political career, he's taken a 180-degree turn on the issue. The policy flip-flop has been drawing criticism from his opponents since he first ran for president in the 2008 election. And, so far in this cycle, it's been a well-used source of political ammunition for Democratic and Republican foes alike.
Democrats argued Friday that his change of heart on the issue is more a matter of political expediency. "Now, he's courting the extreme right of the Republican Party and being pro-choice no longer works for him," said Franklin County Clerk of Courts Maryellen O'Shaughnessy, who spoke with Sutton on a press call organized by the Ohio Democratic Party.
The Democratic National Committee has attacked Romney nationwide for his support of the amendment, which pro-life advocates are trying to introduce on ballots around the country. The amendment, if passed, would outlaw abortion, including in cases of rape and incest or when the mother's life was in danger, and would draw a line against certain forms of birth control, such as "day-after" pills.
Romney's position "should give women serious pause," Sutton said. "[It] could fundamentally change the lives of women."