Mitt Romney: My view is that we should let each state have its own responsibility for guiding its laws relating to abortion.
But I'd like to see the Supreme Court allow states to have greater leeway in defining their own laws.
Very nice answer. I like it.
But Stephanopoulos has a tough follow-up. Uh-oh:
Stephanopoulos: But if it's killing, why should states have leeway?
Mitt Romney: You know, that's one of the great challenges that we have. There are a lot of things that are morally very difficult and, in some cases, repugnant that we let states decide. For instance, Nevada allows prostitution. I find that to be quite repugnant as a practice.
OK, that's not bad. Some moral choices are tough, so maybe it makes sense to let people in different places choose their own way.
But Stephanopoulos won't let up:
Stephanopoulos: But murder is illegal in every state.
Nice! Go for the jugular. At this point, Romney kind of falls apart:
Mitt Romney: And so we let states make some of these very difficult decisions. That's one of the difficulties here. Also, I feel a great empathy for women who have difficult decisions in this regard. I don't want to impose my view on the lives of women, and yet this is one of those points where mature men and women have to come together and say, "What's the right course?" And in my particular view, I believe in life, I believe in respecting life, and I believe that we should, as a series of states, allow states to make their own choice in this regard.
Eventually he just sums up with: "I'm saying that, in my view, we should let the states make that decision and I am in favor of life and in favor of choosing life."
That's about all he can do. He doesn't want to say "abortion is different than murder" and he doesn't want to say he's going to lead the drive against abortion state-by-state if the Court overturns Roe, so he's kind of stuck. Ultimately, I like where he comes out. It is a bit of a waffling, though. It's hard to know which will hurt/help him more: A stronger anti-abortion position or this kind of waffling.