Santorum slams Romney on contraception mandate for rape victims
February 7th, 2012
02:57 PM ET
3 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."

Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

"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.

– Follow Dana Bash on Twitter: @danabashcnn


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

    Maybe the "No Rape Exception" folks have such strong Faith that they would elect to carry such a pregnancy to birth. What right do these folks have to push that "Faith" on a whole Nation of 300 Million ?

    February 7, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  2. Bessy

    @ Wire Palladin, S. F.
    You are so right. These people and their religious beliefs make me sick. RELIGION HAS NO PLACE IN POLITICS. Santorum is a real sicko.

    February 7, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  3. gg

    viagra-yes birth control -no

    February 7, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    Looks like Santorum is back on the religious issues........which absolutely no one cares about, but HIM!

    February 7, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  5. Reality Check

    Emergency Contraception = Morning After Pill. Lets make sure the victim was raped by producing a baby. This echoes attempts at redefining rape, making sure it that it is "forcible rape" and further victimize rape victims by putting them on trial!

    February 7, 2012 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  6. andy

    This religious nonsense has to stop. This is getting really ridiculous. The fact that this idiot gets a single vote really speaks volumes of the human species. We're in deep trouble if this horrible man becomes president. I shudder at the mere thought of it. Santorum is worse than santorum (Google it)

    February 7, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  7. Joesph Smith

    I think most people ar missing the point again. It would appear Willard Milton Romney was for this in 2005 and now against it in 2012. Yet another flipflop that will come up on Mittens if he was to get the nomination.

    February 7, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    I hope some of you Romney supporters are taking notes on what Santorum is doing. Seeing how Romney vetoed the bill, it makes Santorum's argument sound pretty empty. Doesn't it? Now you know what hard line conservatives sound like to moderates and liberals.

    February 7, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  9. gg

    wonder if any of the republican candidates would take viagra or go with gods will

    February 7, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  10. kayla

    wow, when did the repugs think they own my body?

    February 7, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  11. carrotroot

    Actually Mr. Romney is trying to have it both ways on this, first he sided wiith the Church in denying emergency contraceptives to rape victims when he vetoed a bill which had the mandate. However the legislature overturned his veto. But it was what he said afterwards when he said that he felt that the mandate was the right thing to do ... a complete 180 on his previous stance. This is why Mitt gave such a squirrelly answer about banning contraceptives during the debates because he's been down that road and was burned pretty badly over it.

    February 7, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  12. normajean @ verizon ,com

    Has anyone noticed that it's the very religious MEN who are so strong on what rights a woman should or should not have??Frankly, I'm sick of the whole bunch of you and think you should just shut up and let the women of the country do their own thinking. In fact if women ran this world, it wouldn't be in the mess that it is!!

    February 7, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    I think you are right regarding yet another Romney flip-flop, Joseph Smith, but given the comedic nature of this GOP field, it hard to miss an opportunity to nail one of the others as well.

    February 7, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  14. ARALE NORIMAKI

    Boy, these conservatives are really something, aren't they? They're all
    in favor of the unborn. They will do anything for the unborn. But once
    you're born, you're on your own. Pro-life conservatives are obsessed
    with the fetus from conception to nine months. After that, they don't
    want to know about you. They don't want to hear from you. No nothing. No
    neonatal care, no day care, no head start, no school lunch, no food
    stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you're preborn, you're fine; if
    you're preschool, you're funked. Conservatives don't give a s**t about
    you until you reach 'military age' george carlin

    February 7, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  15. Joi Gibson

    Why is it conservatives feel they can dictate that a woman who has been raped or is the victim of incest is not allowed a pill to terminate the pregnancy; that she must suffer not only the traumatization of being victimized, but now has to have the child against her will, but yet it is interfering in personal freedom for the government to say an employer must offer contraception as part of their insurance package. Am I misunderstanding?

    February 7, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  16. Calgary Canuck

    "in his battle to paint Mitt Romney as moderate who sided with Democrats on key issues"

    This ridiculous polarization is going to be America's downfall. Just sayin'

    February 7, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  17. cali girl

    Santo, thought your stand was a life is at conception? Gees, please America wake up to the tactcs the right is having on deciding what our liberties are.

    February 7, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  18. JohnW

    I keep thinking that any day now this guy will start telling white women that black men have tails.

    February 7, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  19. Joe YOU LIE Wilson

    wow... never thought that providing emergency contraception for rape victims was somehow a BAD thing. if anything, this only makes Romney far more appealing than the rest of those bozos.

    February 7, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  20. The GOP opens mouth and inserts foot

    How can anyone like this ever run for public office? There's a reason we have a separation of church and state. That way, no zealot can enforce their religious views on sane people.

    February 7, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  21. Lacking Evidence since 14 Billion BCE

    Those are some crazy thick god glasses this guy is wearing.

    February 7, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  22. The Real Tom Paine

    On another thread, Truth was ranting about the "failures" of Obama's policy in the Middle East: would Truth prefer the permanant occupying force that John McCain so lovingly referred to, or an invasion of Iran? We can't afford that anymore, no small thanks to Bush being the first president in history to give out tax breaks in wartime. Foreign policy in the previous decade was ham-fisted lies puctuated with airstrikes and invasions, and the GOP is geared up to do more of the same, using people like my nephew and the menand women under his command. The whole point of the Middle East "choosing" democracy was to allow multi-party elections to take place and stable democracies to develop so we would no longer to commit troops to the region. As usual, there is no vision to the Right Wing on anything, only blind reaction because they don't like the man in charge, and because his policies have worked better than anything they tried.

    February 7, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  23. westward

    Oh, somebody pull these two clowns off the state already!!

    February 7, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  24. Willie Floyd

    These dumb ideas the Reps. have on contraception and abortion are one of the reasons I contributed to Planned Parethood and will continue to do so.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    February 7, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  25. glyder

    and i thought this would be a story about obamas vs. the catholic church.

    February 7, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8