Why abortion would be part of Romney's agenda

Campaign officials are reacting cautiously to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's new momentum. Scott Pelley speaks with CBS News political director about the changing strategies and tactics.
What to make of Romney's new momentum?
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks to supporters at a rally on a farm on October 9, 2012 near Van Meter, Iowa.

While Mitt Romney told an Iowa newspaper that there is no abortion legislation that he's "familiar with that would become part" of his presidential agenda, Romney overlooked what he has touted will be one of his first acts as president: the repeal of President Obama's health care law.

Conservatives oppose the health care law for a number of reasons, and for abortion opponents, undoing Obamacare is also a top priority since they say the law is one of the largest expansions of abortion access.

The Republican nominee told the Des Moines Register editorial board Tuesday that abortion would not be an issue in a Romney presidency, saying, "There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda."

The Obama campaign responded sharply to the statement, saying that Romney has switched his position again. They point to statements during the Republican primary where he said he would "defund" Planned Parenthood and appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

"The real Mitt Romney will say anything to win," Obama campaign spokesperson Stephanie Cutter told reporters Wednesday.

Immediately after his statement regarding abortion legislation, Romney's spokesperson Andrea Saul said Romney "would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life."

Romney himself weighed in Wednesday when asked about the issue in Delaware, Ohio. "I think I've said time and again that I'm a pro-life candidate and I'll be a pro-life president," he told reporters. "The actions I'll take immediately is to remove funding for Planned Parenthood. It will not be part of my budget. And also I've indicated that I will reverse the Mexico City position of the president. I will reinstate the Mexico City policy which keeps us from using foreign aid for abortions overseas."

Romney had told the Register that he would reinstate the so-called "Mexico City policy" that bans U.S. foreign aid from being used for abortions, pointing out that President Obama dropped the policy on his 10th day in office.

Romney failed to mention, however, that he has vowed on day one of his presidency to repeal the health care law. One of the many controversial components of the Affordable Care Act is its impact on access to abortion. If Romney won and successfully repealed the law, it could open up the doors to another vocal debate on the issue, and, according to social conservatives, would be a massive win for abortion opponents.

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    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.