(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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The day Mitt Romney can inspire someone to action is the day I end my anti-extremist agenda and swear an allegiance to the Dark Lord Norquist.
@TRUTH,get your head out of your butt,nitwit,YOU AS AN EMPLOYEE HAVE A CHOICE.Quit your twisted truths,do some reading,like read Health Plan our POTUS put out.You're sounding more ignorant every day.Most health plans have comprehensive deals for birth control,ask your mistress,she doesn't want a child by you,thank God.Get a life...
"‘It’s Working Just Fine, Just Leave It Alone’"
That's what he said a few weeks ago, now he's flip flopped again......
He wants to finesse both sides of the issue.
The freedom is either choosing to use the contraceptive or not. The taking away of freedom is not allowing a person to make that decision for themselves. GOP you always complain about freedom right? Well you are trying to take that freedom away from people who don't agree with your religious philosophies. In the end it is up to the individual to make that choice. Your belief is that god gave us free will but you seem hell bent on not letting people exercise that freedom. If that decision sends them to hell then so be it. It was their choice and in the end they will be judge not by you anyways.
So telling a religion that's not mine that they can't order me around is an attack on their religious freedom.
This is preventing the religious freedom of the employees of businesses run by the Catholic Church. The Church is basically dictating that their employees be strict practicing Catholics and is discriminating against those employees that are not Catholic. Last I read, you couldn't be discriminated on the basis of religion. Women should have access to basic health care including contraception; this isn't an issue that should even come up.
What's next – the Catholic Church will be doing urine and blood testing to make sure female employess aren't taking birth control pills. Termination for those who are.
First they complain that there's too many poor people. Now, they don't want them to use birth control. Once again, they want it both ways. The corporatists vs. the religionists.
Spoken by a man who doesn't need to ever worry about the cost of any medical expense. What a pathetic kiss a$$. This guy will say and do anything for a vote from any segment of America. He is a typical amoral politician with little to no beliefs of his own save for the belief that he "needs" to be president. Next on the Romney ridiculous statements list: "god called him" to run for president.
The conservatives are such hypocrites.
Contraceptives are the Number One way to prevent abortion.
Get A Clue.
How is this an assault on "personal liberty"? Is the govt. forcing women to take birth control? NO. Is the govt. forcing women to get abortion? NO. It's enforcing long-standing federal laws that if you received any govt. funding (federal, city, or state) you must comply with the federal laws (e.g. Roe v. Wade). Also, organizations with religious affiliations are exempt from taxes due to their charitable status. Federal laws and IRS guidelines require that these "charitable" causes may not discriminate against anyone. If an exempt organization has a charitable cause to provide healthcare to women, regardless of the scenario, they must do it regardless of their political or religious bent. This is not new. This is enforcement of old policies.
The world is overpopulated and millions are going hungry. Christianity's response? Teach all their members to make babies as rapidly as possible.
LOL "Religious freedom" I didn't know that religious freedom meant you were free to discriminate against whomever you feel like.
If using contraception is such a grave sin for Catholics, then why do almost all Catholic women use it? I don't know at what point the Catholic church decided to make up this sin (Because Jesus certainly didn't mention it), but they need get up to date. Contraception prevents unwanted pregnancies, which in turn prevents abortion. It also prevents people who can't really afford kids from having kids. This will prevent the taxpayer from having to pay for the childcare. Contraception is a win for everybody.
I work for a Catholic hospital and our employer forces its employees, covered under their health care plan, to buy their Rx drugs through a company run phamacy. The insurance covers contraception products but the pharmacy does not carry them. That is how our company gets around this issue to some extent. If you want contraception you must take the time to go somewhere else.
The catholic hospital is an employer. And employs non catholics and serves non catholics. IF you are catholic do not take pills. This is a 50 or 60 year old issue they are trying to drag up. The repo party is trying to send women back to the dark ages with this sillyness. This does not apply to the church but if you function as a business you are held to general business practices. Git a grip all you repos.
What disappoints me more is why aren't the 98% of Catholic women who use contraceptives speaking out against this?
Ridiculous. What if some quirky religious organization that ran a hospital objected to vaccines or blood transfusions (e.g., Jehovah's witnessess)–should doctors not be able to administer or prescribe standard health care? This has nothing whatever to do with religious freedom. If a doc doesn't want to prescribe birth control pills, he doesn't have to; the pt should just go elsewhere for their health care. We're talking about requiring health insurance to cover standard medications and procedures; perfectly justifiable.
@Truth and Nothing But the Truth
"Let's face it... liberals are all about forcing OTHERS to pay for THEIR beliefs. "
Last time I checked, Catholic church pays no taxes. So I think you have that backwards. Looks like conservatives are all about forcing OTHERS to pay for their beliefs. Get back to me when they start paying taxes like I do....
Can Mitt dig any deeper holes? Seriously, the man is completely lost in his own little world, as are so many of the far right wing of the GOP. Logic, reason, facts and other and enlightened modalities of modern thought totally elude them. You have "Truth and Nothing But..." posting drivel that he's gleaned from Fox News, as a prime example of this bizarre, myopic, almost medieval, kind of self-absorbed, blinkered thinking. They're anti-women, anti-minority, anti-poor, anti-middle class, anti-equal justice under the law, anti-immigrant, anti-help those who can't help themselves... in short, anti-American.
"Where is it the federal government's job to dictate what private organizations MUST offer in terms of benefits???"
Where is it the Pope in Rome's job or a Mormon Bishop's job to dictate what can or can not be covered in health policies provided to American workers? Don't like birth control – don't use it. I am sick and tired of all the religious bigots whining over something they will apparently neither use or ever need in their lives. To keep others from doing so isn't religious freedom, it's religious intolerance.
to be a good mormon and go to heaven you need to have 4 kids. Thats all mitt is asking for. He wants us all to go to heaven how nice.
The insurance is my property as part of the compensation package for my hard work. As such, the church has no more right to restrict what I do with that insurance and it has a right to tell me that I can not buy contraception using the cash that it paid to me.
That is why insurance companies are forbidden to inform employers of what care I receive. For example, it can not reveal that I received AIDS testing, cancer treatment, .... Contraception is no different.
come on people, it is an attack on religous freedom, Obama has no right to tell the Catholic Church or any church they have to provide something they strongly oppose. Why should a catholic hospital be forced to perform abortions or give out birth control pills. it's against the laws of God and the commandments to prevent children from being born, and it's big time against the 10 commandments to murder, in which Obama wants the christians to do, like having these christians hospitals perform abortions and things. It's down right scary that our president is pushing this down thier throats, even more scary that there are so many people on CNN responding in defense of Obama. When will you wake up and stop drinking that koolaide, isn't 3yrs of his crap enough, how far left and how socialist do you want our great country to become. We are headed like Germany was, right before Hitler and the Nazi starting killing millions, and they remember they loved Hilter then, but then when they realized what he was truly all about, he destroyed thier country and half the citizens and half the citizens across Europe.
The PHONY catholic church and the anti-abortion whack jobs are at it again. FACE FACTS, THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT THESE BABIES. I haven't read one reply where someone says THEY WILL HELP with the kids. Wheres the money to feed and clothes these kids? Put your money where your mouth is. If you want them to be born, put some money out to help out. Otherwise mind your business.
Just another reason to make sure that all right wingers are voted out in 2012. No one is telling these employers that they must use contraception. Each employee should have the right to decide but the health plans must offer the choice.