BOSTON (Reuters) - Republican White House hopeful Mitt Romney restated his support for a reversal of Roe vs Wade on Saturday after opting not to sign what he called an "overly broad" pledge promoted by an anti-abortion advocacy group.
"I am pro-life and believe that abortion should be limited to only instances of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother," the former Massachusetts governor wrote in an editorial on the conservative National Review's website.
The current front-runner for the 2012 Republican nomination was attempting to blunt criticism of his decision not to sign a pledge pushed by the Susan B. Anthony List, an anti-abortion organization.
Those signing the list vow to nominate judges and appoint executive branch officials who are opposed to abortion.
Signing on have been Minnesota Congressman Michele Bachmann, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, Texas Congressman Ron Paul, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum.
Romney, Georgia businessman Herman Cain and former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson opted not to sign.
"As much as I share the goals of the Susan B. Anthony List, its well-meaning pledge is overly broad and would have unintended consequences. That is why I could not sign it," Romney wrote.
Romney said it was one thing to end federal funding for a family planning organization like Planned Parenthood, but it was an entirely different matter to end all federal funding for thousands of hospitals across America.
"That is precisely what the pledge would demand and require of a president who signed it," he wrote.
Romney called the landmark pro-choice legislation Roe v. Wade "bad law and bad medicine," and said he supports the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds for abortions.
Democrats charge that Romney has changed his views on abortion at least once. In 2002, while campaigning for governor in socially liberal Massachusetts, he vowed to "preserve and protect" a woman's right to have an abortion.
(Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Anthony Boadle)