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. mark

    Women need to have the freedom to make choices. ... and what about the child?

    February 7, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  2. judith

    How cruel can one in individual be to think that providing emergency contraception for rape victims is a bad thing? Santorum has proven himself to be a misogynist and a cruel, heartless human being.

    February 7, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  3. cali girl

    I just saw the exchange between Donna and Ari on Wolf, regarding the issue of contraception. All I can say is Donna, YOU ARE MY HERO!!!! Your points were all valid, and yes if viagra was the topic of conversation it would not be discussed. And Ari, SHAME ON YOU! Do you have a wife, mother, sister, daughter? You can stand there and say that a womans right is not to be shoved onto you by the government.
    Donna your professionalism was on mark. Thank you for speaking up when it needs to be spoken.

    February 7, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  4. v_mag

    Well, Rick, heaven forbid that we inflict health care or help of any kind on a rape victim. Afterall, she must have asked for it, right?

    February 7, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  5. RINO Bil

    His comments on this subject alone demonstrates just how drastically out of touch Rick Santorum is from the rest of America. If nothing else, Santorum is helping, not hindering, Mitt Romney.

    February 7, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  6. akmac64

    Why do extremists think that they are the voice of anything except the extreme. Most Americans have had it with this kind of politics. Look at the public confidence ratings of the House of Representatives if you don't believe that. Or all of Congress if you don't want to single out a particular party.

    February 7, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  7. Marshall

    Of course all hospitals should be required to offer emergency contraception to rape victims. That does not mean that the victim has to accept the offer. Is that so difficult to understand? Santorum is beating a dead horse. If he can not grasp that he should not be a candidate for any important office.

    February 7, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  8. Jeffer65

    The economy has not recovered yet. Unemployment is still high, higher if you count the people who are lnot ooking for jobs. Problems in Syria, Iran, and Egypt. Gas prices going up again. All this and these morons are arguing about birth control. Give me a break!

    February 7, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Santorum is SCARY !!"

    Gingrich, Romney, Santorum, Paul. It makes no difference - they are each of them scary in their own way and astonishingly unstable psychologically for the office they seek to hold.

    February 7, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  10. Tony

    This is how republicans get votes.... they go after the Bible nuts! Republicans couldnt care less about the middle class or lower class and to get there votes they use GOD.. these people dont care that repub's want to cut veterans health care, they just care that no gay people serve in the military or a rape victim cant have an abortion. PUT THE BIBLE DOWN ITS A COMIC BOOK... treat people with respect and dignity and die knowing you were a good person.

    February 7, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  11. American

    Santorum is correct to expose Romney's blatant hypocrisy on this issue...flip-flopped (again)

    February 7, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  12. Nothing new here

    I have some ideas....
    1. How about these churches start paying TAXES for once?
    2. How about these churches be mandated to start taking generous care of all rape/incest victims, including covering the full cost of their healthcare, counseling, housing and all other necessities?
    3. How about these churches take more initiative in feeding and sheltering the homeless?
    4. How about these churches spend more time being givers, instead of more political takers?

    February 7, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  13. jo an

    The 'Christians' are heartless...especially Rick.....not that different from the Muslim Men....ALL about controlling women's bodies....whether it is CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALIST...ORTHODOX JEWS....MUSLIM FUNDAMENTALISTS.....STAND UP AMERICA....Let's don't go back to their world.....THE DARK AGES...Jesus didn't hang around with the 'Conservatives' in his day...read the BIBLE...

    February 7, 2012 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  14. TomGI

    Santorum's got a topic, birth control. Perfect. Make yourself more irrelevant than you already are. WHO CARES ABOUT THIS ISSUE BESIDES A FRACTIONAL MINORITY?

    February 7, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  15. Lolo

    America has awaken republicans. We are not falling for your lies. This party is totally bonkers. These lies that they keep using are getting old. We are not in the 1950's anymore.

    February 7, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  16. Holly Bush

    As usual, religion continues to be the well spring for the degradation of women.

    February 7, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  17. JLFuller

    This is classic Santorum. He makes decisions only with a thought to his religion. Religion is good and I support it. However there are always situations where the demands of religion have to be balanced with common sense. Santorum has a hard time doing that. This proves he can't.

    February 7, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  18. James in Denton

    All those who wished rape upon Santorum's family, even if to teach a lesson, should be ashamed. Yes, he's an idiot but don't put yourself in the same boat.

    February 7, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  19. Tam

    When he gets pregnant, or is raped and then gets pregnant, then he can speak. Other than that, mind your own business. He's scary.

    February 7, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  20. CTSadler

    This is shaping up to be the big issue of the 1952 campaign.

    February 7, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  21. gorn by any other name

    I have to hand it to Rick – he is honest and consistent. Honestly and consistently nuts. He very correctly paints himself as being in contrast to a "moderate" like Romney, because he truly believes that moderation is a bad thing. He very correctly points out that he would provide a clear contrast against Obama in the general election because, after all, crazy contrasts very well against sane, and theocrat contrasts very well against secularist. He doesn't quite get the fact that his brand of lunacy appeals to a small minority and he is thus unelectable, but unlike the chameleon Romney he is indeed honest about his nuttery.

    February 7, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  22. Willie Floyd

    Womens' rights are not found within the Rep. party. Seems a lot like Islam.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    February 7, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  23. Sandra

    When will these people understand that the issue is the ECONOMY....not all of this birth control, who you sleep with-and what, God forbid, you chose to do AFTER you have been RAPED stuff.....Please. I'm begging-vote OBAMA!

    February 7, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  24. James in Denton

    These are the same people saying Catholic employers should be able to offer health insurance that doesn't cover birth control pills. They say it interferes with the employer's freedom of religion.

    They fail to realize (or admit) that their position allows employers to force their religious beliefs on employees. What if a Scientologist-run company refused to provide health care that covered mental health services? What if a Jehova's Witness employer refused to offer health insurance that covered blood transfusions? Would the Republicans support those restrictions as well?

    February 7, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  25. Mary

    Rick is like most GOPers. He thinks since he is a man, he gets to tell women what to do, think, how to act, and what medical coverage they deserve. WRONG Rick. As a woman with a brain that works just fine, thank you, I'll make my own decisions. How arrogant of you to think you have the right to deny me the right to make my own decisions. The medication given to women in these situations for the most part, prevent pregnancy, not necessarily end one.

    I guess your problem is that you don't get it. It is NONE of YOUR Business, stay out of it.

    February 7, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
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