Mitt Romney’s eldest sister, who has backed prominent Democrats for office and is in Tampa showing support for her brother, had some reassuring words on Wednesday for women concerned about the Republican Party’s hard line on abortion.
Mitt Romney would never make abortions illegal as president, Jane Romney said when Convention Daily asked her about the subject after a “Women for Mitt” event. “He’s not going to be touching any of that,” she said. “It’s not his focus.”
Democratic warnings that abortion rights are under threat are an ungrounded fear tactic, Jane Romney said. “That’s what women are afraid of, but that’s conjured,” she said. “Personally, I don’t think abortion should be used as a football in the political arena.”
Democrats have not lacked fodder for such charges. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Romney’s running mate, and Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri, who is running for the Senate, are among the many Republicans who oppose abortion with no exceptions for rape or incest. And the Republican platform adopted this week explicitly calls for a constitutional ban on abortion, saying that “the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.” It does not specify any exceptions.
But, as Jane Romney put it, “Mitt’s much more in the middle” when it comes to abortion.
Mitt Romney has said he supports legal abortion in cases of rape and incest, and when the life of the woman is in danger. On the fate of abortion rights: “Recognize, this is the decision that will be made by the Supreme Court,” he said in an interview with CBS News this week. “The Democrats try and make this a political issue every four years, but this is a matter in the courts. It’s been settled for some time in the courts.”
Jane Romney said she believes “life is sacred” and suggested that those seeking an abortion should be required to undergo counseling. But she also said that abortion should “absolutely” be safe and legal. “Every woman needs to be left to make her own choice,” she said.
A ban on abortion is “never going to happen” under a Romney administration, Jane Romney said. “Women would take to the streets. Women fought for our choice; we’re not going to go back.”
Little is known about Jane Romney, who said she is an actress in Los Angeles. She is not a presence on the campaign trail; and unlike Ann Romney and the Romney sons, she has not been deployed as a surrogate. According to a Romney biography by Ronald B. Scott, a journalist for Time in the 1970s and a distant cousin of the candidate, Jane Romney supported the election bids of Sen. Barbara Boxer and Gov. Jerry Brown, both California Democrats.
Jane Romney said her brother can understand and empathize with women from all walks of life. She said he was there for her when she went through a divorce and raised four teenagers on her own. “Mitt and Ann are the right people at the right time for this country,” she said.
This article appears in the August 30, 2012, edition of NJ Convention Daily.