COLUMBUS, October 15, 2012, ( – Mitt Romney would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned, Planned Parenthood defunded, and American financing of abortion advocacy ended around the world, the candidate told the editorial board of the Columbus Dispatch.

In a discussion with the board, Romney said, “I would love us to be in a situation where the American people decide let’s not have abortion. But that’s not where we are.”

Instead, he said, “the most effective next step is to have the court return the decision with regards to abortion to the American people and their elected representatives.” 

The remarks came a week after the candidate told the Des Moines Register, “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda,” setting off fresh controversy with his party’s pro-life base. 

In his interview with the Dispatch, Romney clarified his ambiguous statement to the Register, saying he simply mirrored their word choice.

“I was asked a simple question – do you have a piece of legislation on this, and the answer is no, I don’t,” Romney said. “What I do have is an executive order which I will put in place on Day 1, to see that the Mexico City policy is put back in place.”

“And I will also, as has been pointed out in ads here frequently, I will not fund Planned Parenthood through federal funding,” he said.

The Republican nominee said his “preference” is for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and “return to the states and to the people and their elected representatives the issue of abortion as opposed to having the federal government impose, the Supreme Court impose its view on a one-vote majority.”

He added, “But that’s something that will be up to the court.” 

The Dispatch is one of the largest newspapers in the state of Ohio.

Romney made similar remarks on Meet the Press earlier this fall, sounding a consistent opposition to the 1973 ruling that struck down state abortion restrictions nationwide.

The next president is expected to alter the balance of the Supreme Court. Four justices are now in their 70s. The oldest, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is 79.

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Romney’s surrogates defended his pro-life stance on the abortion issue this weekend in the wake of the Dispatch interview.

“What the governor has consistently said is that he thinks Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and this is something that should be left to elected representatives, to the people through their elected representatives,” former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie, now a Romney adviser, told Candy Crowley of CNN’s State of the Union program.

Crowley will moderate the next presidential debate, which is to take a town hall format, on Tuesday evening at Long Island’s Hofstra University.

“Life is a very important issue in this election,” Gillespie said.