(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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I think that if Republicans could read, or at least were willing to study english comprehension, they might come to recognize how little they understand about the world around them.
Well one good thing has come out of this, posters on this board have finally expressed their outrage over Truth's moronic, daily ramblings, and have shut him down.
Thank you Misinformation Mitt.
And why is the Catholic Church so concerned about women's reproductive organs?
Oh yeah, right, it's the most basic way to control women as secondary humans.
I guess Mr. Romney won’t be happy until all women of child bearing age are barefoot and pregnant. That doesn’t apply to his own family though. I noticed he only has 5 children. It looks to me like he has used contraception in his marriage. I guess contraception should only be for the wealthy.
And yet I bet he has no problem with health insurance being "forced" to cover Viagra and its ilk.
The American public has to pay the taxes that the Catholic churches don't. Tough.
To not provide available birth control to your employees is an attack on religious liberty, not the other way around. The church in this case is discriminating against employees who hold religious beliefs that contraception is acceptable by denying them that opportunity.
No one is forcing anyone to use birth control, just to provide to protect the health of women who want it.
How is this a war on religious freedoms? So your health insurance covers the pill. If you don't need it or want to use it, you don't have to! But there are people out there that do want it. Maybe I'm not fully understanding?
If Mitts only had a dollar for everytime he lies...................oops I guess he does !
Push this particular issue Mitt and you are guaranteed to lose. Just because you want to excessively breed, you know since you have trillions of dollars to spend on your Duggar style family, doesn't mean the rest of the world wants you interfering with our family planning. Warning Mitt, stay out of our uteruses.
Mitt at it again, he doesn't study the facts before he talks. This man has NO CLUE
If there's one thing the world doesn't need, it's more people.
These provisions are already covered in most standard insurance plans Catholic organizations purchase. They never complained before.
Why is the government trying to force organizations to do something that is against their principles? I'm definitely pro choice and for birth control, but it is not the governments place to mandate these practices. Unplanned pregnancies and teen pregnancies will never go away completely, even with accessible birth control and abortion. It's just the way it is.
If a woman needs BC or an abortion, let them go to planned parenthood. The cost is FREE for abortion and BC. It's not that big a deal, so why does Obama have to make it one?
Hopefully these contenders of the GOP, willl be the last of this "mind-set", that America willl ever have to listen and read about. Women are part of this humanity on earth, as the Religious Controllers are, and they are not going to vote for anyone man or woman, who believes they can control all of America's women. Perhaps we the women should be setting some new laws of what is acceptable for men to conform to.
So many people here bring up such a good point... Churches enjoy a tax-exempt status. But do they cry "SOCIALISM!!" because of it? No. We could easily label THEM as the freeloaders! Quit crying and realize that women have rights too. WE have the right of EQUAL TREATMENT. If men can have their Viagra covered, then we should be able to protect ourselves against them with our fully-covered birth control. It's gone on too long! Can you imagine how many poor women collecting welfare would be able to protect themselves against pregnancy and thereby REDUCE the burden on the welfare system if this had been instilled a decade or two ago? This is nothing but a help to our system and should be applauded by everyone. It's freedom of CHOICE and has nothing to do with religion.
Thank you, RUDY/NYC. Your comments are intelligent, accurate, insightful, and absolutely on point. Keep up the good work!
You know, Mittens, we don't get you. Are you EVER going to stop flip-flopping?
So 10 percent of the nation believe congress is doing a good job. Conservatives want less government. Liberals want more government. Why would we want more of what we all agree stinks?
Thankfully TRUTH may be gone!! He is the epitome of the phrase "you can't fix stupid".
This man is either a complete idiot for believing what he said, or a bald-faced liar for saying it when he knows it's false. I'm inclined to believe he's a liar.
To the idiots who think this is somehow an assault on their fairy-tale religions, you are morons. The law requires insurance coverage, it does not require anyone to take advantage of the coverage. I am so sick of the idiots in this country.
And this evil mormon believes that 13 year old girls should be married to 60 year old men, and haveing there kids, he is a sicko
If providing medical care goes against your personal beliefs then stay the hell out of medical professions. This is NOT an attack on religious liberty. No one is saying that Catholics cannot be Catholic. What they are NOT allowed to do is force others to abide by their religious dogma. Secular law trumps religious law in this country. If you do not want to abide by that secular law then you can feel free to exercise your liberties and move to a theocracy – perhaps Iran.
Excuse me Catholic religious freedom advocates: does a Catholic have the freedom to choose birth control as most of them do, or do you opppose that freedom to choose which tenets of the faith people follow. If you are for religious freedom, then to avoid being hypocrits you must extend the to those Catholics the freedom to choose to believe that birth contro is not sinful, unless you're opposed to religious freedom. Oh, I get it, you're only free to believe what I tell you to believe. Yeah, let freedom ring. LIke a stone bell.