WASHINGTON, D.C., October 12, 2012, ( – During Thursday’s vice presidential debate, Republican candidate Paul Ryan accused Joe Biden and the Obama administration of being “extreme” on abortion.

“The Democratic Party used to say [abortion] should be ‘safe, legal and rare,’” said Ryan. “Now they support it without restriction and with taxpayer funding. Taxpayer funding in ObamaCare, taxpayer funding with foreign aid.”

After the debate John McCormack of the Weekly Standard decided to press Obama officials on whether the president really is extreme on the issue, asking them if they could name any abortion restrictions that Obama supports. 


McCormack queried Obama officials Jim Messina, Stephanie Cutter, and David Axelrod, and then, when none were able to name any restrictions Obama supports, he went to Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, who maintains a close relationship with the administration.


While Messina and Axelrod simply dodged the question, Cutter denied that Obama’s position is support for abortion without restriction. “No, that’s not his position,” she said. When McCormack asked for specifics, Cutter responded, “He has several votes on this. We can get them to you,” but couldn’t name any votes in particular.

Richards, meanwhile, responded to the question by saying that there are abortion restrictions already in force. When asked if she thought the president supported any of them, Richards, responded,  “I haven’t spoken to him about those.”

Pro-life groups have long charged that Obama has the most extreme record on abortion of any president in history.

Most notably, the president opposed the ban on partial birth abortion – a procedure in which a baby is killed while only his head remains in his mother’s body – and voted several times against a bill in the Illinois state senate to protect babies born alive after failed abortions from being killed. This latter vote has given rise to accusations that Obama supports “infanticide.”

He has also opposed parental notification laws, and bans on sex selective abortions, and has supported the “Freedom of Choice Act,” which opponents say would invalidate virtually all state and federal limits on abortion, and re-legalize partial-birth abortion.

Polls consistently show that a strong majority of Americans favor some restrictions on abortion.