Santorum slams Romney on contraception mandate for rape victims
February 7th, 2012
02:57 PM ET
2 years ago

Santorum slams Romney on contraception mandate for rape victims

St. Charles, Missouri (CNN) – Rick Santorum opened a new front Tuesday in his battle to paint Mitt Romney as moderate who sided with Democrats on key issues, accusing the former Massachusetts governor of mandating that hospitals provide emergency contraception to rape victims.

In an op-ed Tuesday, Santorum said that in December 2005, then Gov. Romney "required all Massachusetts hospitals, including Catholic ones, to provide emergency contraception to rape victims."

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"He said then that he believed 'in his heart of hearts' that receiving these contraceptives – free of charge – trumped employees' religious consciences. Now, a few years later and running for president, his heart is strategically aligned with religious voters opposing this federal mandate," wrote Santorum in Politico.

Opponents point to a law passed while Romney was governor of Massachusetts that required hospitals - including Catholic ones - to provide emergency contraception to rape victims.

A spokeswoman for the Romney campaign said he had vetoed the original bill. That veto was overruled by the state legislature.

Romney Communications Director Gail Gitcho pointed to the context that comes from the full "heart of hearts" quote.

"My personal view, in my heart of hearts, is that people who are subject to rape should have the option of having emergency contraception or emergency contraception information," Romney said in 2005, according to Gitcho.

Santorum argued that move by Romney is similar to what President Obama's administration "decreed," "that all employers, including Catholic and other religious employers, who offer health insurance to their employees, must offer sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs and contraception."

"The actions of President Obama – as well as the actions of then Governor Romney – raise some questions. From where do we receive our fundamental human rights? Are they given to us by the government–whether that government be State or Federal? Or, as the American Founders insisted, are these rights endowed upon us by a Creator?" wrote Santorum.

"It's important to me that we don't just talk a good game, but that we actually live it" he said. "I believe it is important to defend our religious liberties because these organizations are on the frontlines of helping those in need."

Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul characterized attacks from the right as "wrong."

"On his first day in office, Mitt Romney will eliminate the Obama administration rule that compels religious institutions to violate the tenets of their own faith," Saul said in a statement. "We expect these attacks from President Obama and his liberal friends. But from Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, it's a clear indication of desperation from their campaigns."

The former Pennsylvania senator is hoping strong showings in Tuesday's contests in Missouri and Minnesota will prove his argument that he, not Newt Gingrich, is the conservative alternative to Romney. He is also hoping a win in either state will symbolically slow the momentum and air of inevitability Romney has gained since winning two consecutive contests Florida and Nevada.

Government mandates on contraception is just the latest example Santorum is using to argue Romney is too moderate and ill positioned to be the GOP nominee.

Monday Santorum made the case that Romney is "not qualified" to be the GOP nominee because the health care law he helped craft in Massachusetts has an individual mandate, similar to what is in the president's health care law, making it impossible for Republicans to hit Obama on that issue during the general election. Santorum said it also proves Romney is not a real conservative.

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Filed under: 2012 • Health care • Mitt Romney • Rick Santorum
soundoff (196 Responses)
  1. Jake

    Rick Santorum continues to frighten sane people everywhere...

    February 7, 2012 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  2. Joe Gerken

    Can this Santorum guy really be as hearless as he sounds. Rape victims! I imagine he would be singing a different tune if he were (a) female and (b) raped.

    February 7, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  3. WB

    I just want his wife to be raped and force him to keep the baby!!!!!!! if politician puts themselves in our feet for once, they would change all this stupid rhetoric,..... GO ROMNEY!!!! the REAL republican (not the extremist senseless one)

    February 7, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  4. Truth and Nothing But the Truth

    Rick, the problem is your poll numbers.... You're simply not gaining traction. Actually you have a lot of tread marks on your back from PROVIDING traction to others.

    February 7, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  5. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Rick, you really need to leave women's reproductive rights alone, until you yourself carry a child for nine months and experience the pain of giving birth. Go home Rick, this is Mittens race to lose, and he is doing a fine job of that.

    February 7, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  6. Derek from Boston

    "...must offer..."

    "...offer..."

    "...offer..."

    As long as it is not "...mandate...", what's the issue? (The actually issue, not some religious nonsense)?

    February 7, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  7. CoJo

    I really had hoped the candidates would not turn this into a religious war. But I forgot, Catholics/Christians are nothing more than another special interest group. Only interested in forcing their beliefs onto others.

    February 7, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  8. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    From where do we receive our fundamental human rights? Are they given to us by the government–whether that government be State or Federal? Or, as the American Founders insisted, are these rights endowed upon us by a Creator?
    ----------------------------------------–
    I get my fundamental human rights from God, but everyone doesn't believe in God Ricky. So stop trying to push your faith onto other people. I swear, you republicans swear to be all about small government, but in actuality, you're all for big government. You want government to define what marriage is, you want government to prevent a womans right to choose and the list goes on. Keep the government out of my bedroom.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012
    ELIZABETH WARREN 2012 & BEYOND

    February 7, 2012 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  9. Republitard

    Hope your wife or kids get rape and end up pregant, and come back and tell us if receiving these contraceptives – free of charge – trumped your' religious consciences. Stop forcing your belief on others.

    February 7, 2012 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. Calgary Canuck

    "Romney is too moderate and ill positioned to be the GOP nominee."

    Of course , why would you rather have somebody who will consider an issue from differing points of view and arrive at a concensus when you could have a raving, religious maniac who considers any viewpoint other than his own to be disgusting and not worthy of further consideration.

    February 7, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  11. Data Driven

    Biblical Rick conveniently forgets about rendering unto Caesar. But I absolve him: to some degree everyone is a Cafeteria Christian, choosing the roast beef over the turkey, the rice over the mashed potatoes, Passage B over Quatrain A from Scripture that best aligns with their tastes.

    Unfortunately for him, however, denying women emergency contraception in cases of rape or incest is not only illegal according to Roe v. Wade, but it's unpopular, too. By the way, it's also against the law to deny contraception in cases that don't involve rape or incest. "Emergency contraception" is not recognized by Roe v. Wade, either.

    February 7, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  12. Soylent

    How do you defend a candidate who thinks a rape victim should be forced to bear the child of her attacker? He wants contraception to be illegal in all cases. He wants abortion to be illegal in all cases. Rick Santorum hates women, plain and simple. Looking at this guy makes me want to vomit.

    February 7, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  13. nrc

    If Romney vetoed it, than this is a non issue. Mass is highly liberal and overturned his veto. Santorum would get eaten alive by Obama, he throws little snied comments and to me he comes across as someone who thinks he is better than everyone. He seems always ready to judge, which is pretty hypocritical given that he is running as the "evangelical" candidate.

    February 7, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  14. wwf

    What an ass. Typical of the right wing. Make women who have been raped have the baby for YOUR own personal beliefs. Tell you what all of you born agains, you can go to the hospitals and clinics and offer to pay alll of the expenses and throw a little extra in for their pain and discomfort and adopt the child. That way you get what you want and really believe in. Think of it. No abortions. Oh thats right, you just want to push your beliefs down eveyones throat, but not take any other type of action. That is not in my back yard mentality. Real cute.

    February 7, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    There you have it folks: If a woman is raped, her right to emergency contraception is trumped by whatever religious zealots are running the hospital or clinic. That's what the rightwing radicals consider "compassionate conservativism."

    February 7, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  16. Debby

    Santorum is a good man but not a good candidate. He is always criticizing Romney without the true facts and his Senate record is very shaky.

    February 7, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  17. wwf

    Some of you really need to understand things before you speak. Catholics/Christians are nothing more than another special interests groups You have got to be kidding me! Since when are Catholics not Christians?

    February 7, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. Rick in AZ

    If memory serves me(I'm sure someone will correct me if I"m mistaken)during the Civil War in the Congo in the 60s, Catholic Nuns were given birth control bills to prevent pregnancy if they were raped.

    February 7, 2012 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  19. pprty

    Sure, if Santorum's daughter/wife/sister was attacked & raped he will go through the trauma, counseling, medical care, and support and love the child even if it looks and acts exactly like the rapist.

    February 7, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  20. LL

    Offering coverage doesn't mean you have to use it. This is NOT mandating any individual to use anything.

    February 7, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  21. Laverne

    This guy is insane if he thinks he has a snowball chance in hell of becoming POTUS. His unrealistic, extreme views might be suitable if he is running for president of some religous organization, but to try and govern an entire country of his extreme views will probably get him an assination attempt, I'm just saying!

    February 7, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  22. Rahshad

    Should I assume the Santorum, Romney and others endorse Rapist rights because I have not read an article or heard them speak about the rights of the rape victim? Are we really going to put Religious freedom above Personal freedom. Maybe one of them can write up a budget proposal for a single-mother rape victim who makes $40K/ year. Maybe they should spend 1 month with child they never asked for in a world they cant afford. Rich people just don't get it!

    February 7, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  23. The Real Tom Paine

    What was delivered unto Rick Santorum was a butt-kicking of epic proportions by the people of his own state the last time he stood as the GOP's choice. He keeps demonstrating why he is incapable of going to the next level. Even Truth recogizes this fact, but why anyone would support a failed one-term governor with the moral compass of a well-oiled weather vane defies description and common sense as well: on the other hand, Romney's currently trying to appeal to the Flat-Earth Crowd thats hijacked the GOP, so given his utter lack of scruples and morals, it makes sense. Boy, it must suck to be a Repblican these days: the anger, the lack of ideas, the frustration.

    February 7, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  24. Larry L

    It appears that "real conservatives" oppose contraception? I thought they were against welfare moms having additional kids?

    Additionally, conservatives are against; consumer protection, immigrants, environmental protection, racial diversity (except the occassional token right-wing African American), gay marriages, stem cell research, all science that conflicts with the Bible, Social Security, Medicare, National Parks, renewable energy, the American automobile industry, NATO, efforts to curb childhood obesity, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, MPR, efforts to protect women's health, the rights of workers, the poor, all Muslims, and campaign reform to prevent super PACs from buying elections.

    They seem to be for; NASCAR, gerrymandering, filibustering all initiatives, reduced access to voting by minorities and the poor, water-boarding, an endless boycot of Cuba, war with Iran (and just about everybody else), offshore bank accounts, the uber-rich's right to low taxes, an energy policy totally built on fossil fuels, a Christian theocracy, defense of Israel (but not the Jews), gas-guzzling cars, fat kids, the totally unregulated distribution of firearms, and a scary fascination with hateful, stupid, but good-looking women.

    I'm just trying to get it straight before election time...

    February 7, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  25. Straight Shooter

    The basic choice in all elections is for a Dem who feels people should think for themselves or a Republican who wants to decide what you should believe and make it a law that you have to believe what they tell you to.

    February 7, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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