(CNN) – Mitt Romney on Monday became the latest GOP presidential candidate to blast the Obama administration for new rules that would force all hospitals –including those run by the Catholic church– to provide workers health insurance that covers contraception, including sterilization.
A page on Romney's website asks supporters to sign a petition protesting "the Obama administration's attacks on religious liberty," saying the new rules amounted to an assault on personal rights.
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"The Obama administration is at it again," Romney's website said. "They are now using Obamacare to impose a secular vision on Americans who believe that they should not have their religious freedom taken away."
The new policy from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stirred an outcry this week, as it requires all employers' health insurance – including religious institutions – to cover contraceptives such as the birth control pill and the so-called Plan B pill, as well as more permanent contraceptive procedures like sterilization.
While churches are exempt, hospitals and schools with religious affiliations must comply. The new policy goes into effect August 1, but religious groups will have a year-long extension to enforce the rule.
Catholic teaching opposes abortion and the use of contraceptives, though a 2011 study by the Guttmacher Institute showed 98% of sexually active Catholic women had used contraception.
President Barack Obama's reelection campaign pushed back on the criticism from Romney, pointing to Romney's refusal when governor of Massachusetts to exempt Catholic hospitals from providing emergency contraception to rape victims.
"Mitt Romney continues to show that he will do or say anything to get elected," Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said. "He is even attacking the President for providing women with the same access to contraception and preventive health care services that he did as Governor of Massachusetts. And now, in an effort to pander to the most conservative parts of the Republican base, he has embraced the extreme personhood amendment, which would ban many forms of birth control, including birth control pills. This sends a clear message to women across America: Mitt Romney can't be trusted and his hypocrisy knows no bounds."
Romney's campaign pointed to the candidate's original veto of the bill which required hospitals to provide rape victims with emergency contraception. His veto was ultimately overridden by the state legislature.
"The governor's position on this law was that it never should have gone into effect in the first place, which is why he vetoed it," Romney spokesman Andrea Saul said.
Two Catholic presidential candidates, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, have spoken out against the new rules.
Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," Gingrich said the new rules amounted to a "war on the Catholic Church."
Gingrich continued, "Every time you turn around, secular government is closing in on and shrinking the right of religious liberty in America, and I think there are millions of people who are very disturbed by that."
Santorum, speaking in Minnesota Monday, said the rules were a direct violation of American Catholic First Amendment rights.
"It is not just an assault on the First Amendment freedom of conscience, but the First Amendment freedom of speech," Santorum said. "This is the danger when government controls things. They can control how you exercise those rights and they can control your access to information about those rights."
- CNN’s Ashley Killough contributed to this report.
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Protest. For what? The rule works both ways and it applies to more than just the Catholic church.
The conservative argument against it is false and misleading. They argue that the government is forcing the church to act against its' principles and teachings. That assertion is totally false. No one is telling Catholic hospitals that they must provide abortions. No one is telling the doctors at those hospitals that they must provide prescriptions for contraceptives. The government is telling the institutions that they cannot deny legally available medical procedures.in their health plans for their employees, even if it is abortion and contraceptives.
Disagree? Let's look at a different scenario, one that I believe the Catholic church may agree with. The Watchtower Society is the organization behind Jehovah's Witnesses, and it employs many people at their printing presses at various locations around the country. Their faith prohibits blood transfusions. Most people who work at their locations are followers of the faith.
Suppose a man works as a press mechanic for several years. He eventually marries a woman, has kids, later divorces that woman over differences of faith, she gains custody of the kids and moves out, taking the kids with her. The divorce court decreed that the man must provide for the kids' medical insurance. One kid now needs open heart surgery that requires a blood transfusion. Should the father's employer provided health plan be able to deny the kid the potentially life saving blood transfusion?
This is just another sorry chapter in the Obamacare nightmare that awaits this country. This is what happens when you let radical leftists pass 2000 page legislation that nobody was allowed to read. This is why Obama and the Democrats MUST GO in 2012. We simply cannot let them destroy the best healthcare system on the planet in order to further their leftist agenda.
Who whispered in his ear to tell him to say this. The man flip flops so much you can't depend on him for anything. He just wants to die with a smile on his face saying I finally became president after all these years of running and my family can finally be proud. These republicans are a joke. They can pick him if they want to. America has finally woken up and this parasite will not be president. Only a fool or a rich person will vote for a republican again.
The government is telling the institutions that they cannot deny legally available medical procedures.in their health plans for their employees, even if it is abortion and contraceptives.
Where is it the federal government's job to dictate what private organizations MUST offer in terms of benefits???
Honestly, this looks like a poison pill planted by the leftist Democrats and Obama to get the Catholic church OUT of the healthcare business and one step closer to totally government run healthcare.
Keep trying Mittens. Maybe one day you'll get it but for now....nope.
That's interesting: Why would Romney want people to sign a petition for something that he approved on when he was governor? He did the same thing in his health care law. These are the candidates that the GOP want to run in 2012? REALLY???
This is absolutely ridiculous. No one is forcing people to use contraception. If it's against your religious beliefs, then don't use it. All the rule states is that it be covered under insurance, in the event that an employee chooses to take advantage of it.
RudyNYC–You are exactly right.
I don't think that people who do not want birth control had to get it. Mittens is about the lowest form of elite aristocracy and one of the richest liars to ever run for GOP leader.
I have never understood the fact that medicaid will not pay for a tubal ligation or any contraceptives, it's better to prevent than to have unwanted children. The Rethuglicans want to take away an individuals right and they talk about big Government.
Romneycare is the same for Massachusetts. , He is such a hypocrite.
Scott - This is absolutely ridiculous. No one is forcing people to use contraception. If it's against your religious beliefs, then don't use it. All the rule states is that it be covered under insurance, in the event that an employee chooses to take advantage of it.
The employer (Catholic church) PAYS for the benefit, which violates their religious beliefs. Benefit plans include and exclude all sorts of treatments. This should be no different. If employees don't like the benefit plan, then they can work someplace else. Nothing prohibits these people from paying for contraception or getting an abortion on their own dime.
The left is all about "choice" unless the choice is to NOT do what THEY want.
This guy is hell bent on going to hell. He lie everytime he open his mouth.
Where is it the federal government's job to dictate what private organizations MUST offer in terms of benefits???
Before you stick your neck out too far, be aware that 26 states already have similar laws on their books and most of those states are red states.
What gives govermments the right to tell us what we can and cannot do? The US Constitution and the Civil Rights Act. The US government cannot turn endorse the beliefs of any one religion. Some argue that a GOP POTUS could do a similar thing, but in the opposite direction. That's false. The US Constitution prohibits it. Government cannot endorse or embrace religions or doctrine.
I suggest you read my scenario above. This applies to more than just the Catholic church. It applies to everybody and in all ways.
The President is more than correct on this issue. Virtually all hospitals, including those operated by the Catholic church, receive Federal funding. Hospitals are businesses, not churches, and they are not permitted to discrimate on the basis of race, religion, etc. Their employees, who are very unlikely to be all of the same faith, should be entitled to equal healthcare coverage as would be offered in other businesses. As Rudy NYC points out, the ruling is not compelling anybody to prescribe or take contraceptives or be sterilized, nor is it asking the Catholic to condone these practices.
As a non-catholic, I really don't believe the POPE or the catholic church should be determining the welfare or health issues of woment in this country. He can dictate to Vatican City, but NOT to the U.S.A.
Cut off all medical welfare to men - STOP VIAGRA AND CIALIS. And stop all cancer screenings for men. That would make it fair.
I have female catholic cousins, and they ALL use birth-control. NO MORE UNWANTED CHILDREN.
The republicans want to take away women's rights. That's all this is.
I am in favor of women rights, what sad in all these comments the male is let off the hook. He must be accountable for his actions too. Mitt claims he’s for the unborn, however in that same breath he would let the poor drown. Stop falling for this crap that the GOP is putting out in the media. This is nothing new this problem has been around for the last 30 years. The real problem is the GOP is truly afraid of working with President
If the Catholic Church want to get in the busines of running the church like a business, they have to abide by the same rules as everybody else. This creep of a candidate supported a woman's right to choose when it was convenient for him and now he is just pandering to the latest complaint from the GOP. They are trying desperately to try and create the illusion that there is an assault on religious freedom when there is not! I hope their bullshit backfires on them like every time they try and pull this crap!
@ Rudy NYC – No one is saying anything about forcing a person to have an abortion. The outcry is over pro-life religious organization being forced to cover pro-choice medical options – and, in essence, being force to pay for something they don't support. Using your logic, which is false and misleading, this provision in ObamaNoCare is tantamount to the government requiring you to submit a payment to the National Republican Party. Just because the government tells you to send payment doesn't mean you have to vote for them.
When are people going to realize the this much government control over our daily lives is going to be the demise of this country? I don't get how liberal minded people enjoy being controlled by more laws, more regulations and big brother getting into their everyday affairs.
Thinks2010 wrote – RudyNYC–You are exactly right.
Thanks, for your opinion. 26 states already have similar language in their own state laws, including Mass under Gov Romney's own health care plan. Remember folks, it was used as a model for the ACA.
He just lost the majority of the women's votes. To heck with the catholic men and the republicans. Let the men get a vasectomy at their own cost - no more insurance for vasectomies. Like that? No more insurance for cialis and viagra. Like that? No more cancer screening for men.
The left is all about choice, Truth. We don't mind your choices, so why should you mind ours?
Romney's plan in MA was the same! Is he flip-flopping AGAIN? And the repubs are always trying to protect the unborn or force people to have children but once the y're here, the republicans want to cut any assistance that helps to take care of the child(ren)......such hypocrites!!!!
@Lolo - you are correct. Robot Romney speaks against anything that the President puts on the table. Oh wait, isn't Romneycare the SAME? So he's also speaking against himself. Who programmed this robot? LOL