(Photo: REUTERS/Michael Reynolds)
Editor's note: In this series comparing the positions of both major party presidential candidates on a range of issues, each candidate's platform will be described using information from the candidate's themselves, mostly from the candidate's websites. A candidate's description of their opponent's position will not be used. In describing the candidate's position, The Christian Post does not attest to the facts stated as part of the position.
As the presidential election on Nov. 6 approaches, President Barack Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney's opposite stances on abortion present a clear picture for voters concerned about the issue.
Abortion is a topic that has largely divided America among people who call themselves "pro-life," and believe that life begins at conception, and those who identify as "pro-choice," who maintain that it is a woman's right to chose whether or not she should have an abortion.
Romney states his position on abortion openly on his campaign website, identifying himself as "pro-life."
"Mitt believes that life begins at conception and wishes that the laws of our nation reflected that view," the former Massachusetts governor's website states. "But while the nation remains so divided, he believes that the right next step is for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade – a case of blatant judicial activism that took a decision that should be left to the people and placed it in the hands of unelected judges. With Roe overturned, states will be empowered through the democratic process to determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate."
Romney's pledge to overturn the 1973 Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade is also consistent with his promise to stop funding to Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the country.
"Taking innocent life is always wrong and always tragic, wherever it happens. The compassionate instincts of this country should not be silent in the face of injustices like China's One-Child policy. No one will ever hear a President Romney or his vice president tell the Chinese government that 'I fully understand' and won't 'second guess' compulsory sterilization and forced abortion," Romney's message states.
It is of note, however, that Romney's pro-life views do not fully align with the Republican platform. Drafted in August, the Republican National Committee proposed a ban on all abortions in America, but Romney has said that exceptions should be allowed in the cases of rape and incest.
President Obama, on the other hand, has revealed himself to be a strong supporter of the pro-choice position and maintains that it is a woman's right to choose what happens with her body.
On a webpage on his campaign site highlighting the differences between Romney's plan and Obama's stance on abortion, the president states his opposition to any attempts to defund Planned Parenthood or to reverse Roe v. Wade.
The president's campaign also highlights several examples of how Obama has helped strengthen the pro-choice position. The controversial Affordable Care Act is given as one instance, under which religious employers are mandated to provide insurance to their employees that covers birth control and contraceptives – which the Roman Catholic Church and other Christian organizations in the U.S. are largely opposed to.
Unlike Romney, Obama is in full alliance with his party's official stance on abortion.
"The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay," reads the DNC platform document presented in August.
In an October Gallup poll, most Americans identified abortion as an important issue in the coming election. Forty-five percent said that it will be one of the many important factors that will affect their voting, 17 percent stating the candidate must share their views, and 34 percent said that it will not be a major issue. Registered voters who responded to the Gallup Poll were mostly split on the issue, although those with a pro-choice view held the edge at 48 percent, compared to 45 percent who identified themselves as pro-life.
A notable statistic of the poll, however, revealed that 21 percent of pro-life voters will not vote for a candidate who does not support their stance on the topic, while only 15 percent of pro-choice respondents stated the same.