DES MOINES, October 10, 2012, (LifeSiteNews) – After the Des Moines Register reported Thursday that Mitt Romney had said that legislation restricting abortions will not be priority for him should he be elected, his campaign quickly back-pedalled, reiterating the candidate’s commitment to the pro-life cause.

In a meeting with the paper’s editorial board, Romney said, “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.”

In response, pro-life leaders demanded clarification, reminding Romney of his past public promises to fight for restrictions on legal abortion. The Romney campaign quickly issued reassurances.

“Governor Romney would of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said. In a follow-up statement to the Des Moines Register, she added, “Mitt Romney is proudly pro-life and will be a pro-life president.”

Romney’s statement to the Register was reminiscent of promises he made during his 2002 Massachusetts gubernatorial campaign not to change the state’s pro-choice laws despite his personal opposition to abortion. He has since described his position during his time as Massachusetts governor as “effectively pro-choice.” It also echoes statements his wife, Ann, and his sister, Jane, have made on the campaign trail, saying that while Romney is pro-life, he doesn’t consider abortion a central issue in U.S. politics at this time.

Since his controversial statement on Tuesday, both Romney and his detractors have been scrambling to convince voters of his pro-life credentials.

Romney has repeatedly emphasized his pledge to reinstate the Mexico City policy banning U.S. foreign aid dollars from being used for abortions overseas if he is elected.  He has also promised to immediately end federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and to appoint Supreme Court judges who will overturn Roe v. Wade.

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While pro-life activists expressed concern about Romney’s commitment to their cause in the wake of Tuesday’s comment, the Obama campaign and other pro-abortion leaders reacted with skepticism.

The Obama campaign sent out an e-mail just hours after Romney’s editorial meeting saying, “Mitt Romney’s not telling the truth about his positions. He’s said he’d be ‘delighted’ to sign a bill banning abortion and called Roe v. Wade ‘one of the darkest moments in Supreme Court history,’ and has pledged to appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn it.”

Meanwhile, Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said, “Mitt Romney has been crystal clear that if he’s elected President, he will work to overturn Roe v. Wade.”

“Let’s be clear,” she continued, “Mitt Romney wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, end federal funding for Planned Parenthood preventive services, end insurance coverage for birth control, and repeal health protections for women.”