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."

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. vs

    This is just another attempt by the right to skirt the real issues in this current election. It is the old trick of let me cause some commotion over here so you don't look over there. Basically they are taking non-issues we settled decades ago and stirring them up so they don't have to talk about things like the economy and jobs. They have no intention of improving our economic situation because they like things the way they are currently. A comfortable, woking middle class is a thorn in their side. Don't let them get away with this CNN. Make them discuss the real issues.

    February 7, 2012 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    Why do all these right wingers hate women so much?

    February 7, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  3. nauticalman

    Just when I thought my opinion of Sanctimonius Santorum could not sink any lower, he outdoes himself again. Maybe he could run for Ayatollah in Iran. Or perhaps Pope!

    February 7, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  4. CmonSense

    Santorum believes in controlling women, not trusting them. He is a text book right wing hypocrite. Acting as if he fights for personal freedom as he forces his own religion on everyone else. Keep your religion out of my government.

    Health care without all legal options isn't health care, it's Catholic care. Unless those organizations want to give up their federal funds and perks, they need to provide health care.

    February 7, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain

    CNN probably won't post this, but here is a FACT: Santorum's wife had an abortion to save her life.

    She had four young children at home, so it was determined it was better to abort the fetus and let her live, than leave her living children motherless.

    Santorum is a hypocrite of the first order.

    February 7, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain

    You want to keep fanning the flames of religious division, Ricky, do ya? You and your party of control freaks are going to be HISTORY come November when all Democrats, Independents and thinking Republicans tell you to go crawl back under your 16th century rock!

    February 7, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    @vs: "Basically they are taking non-issues we settled decades ago and stirring them up so they don't have to talk about things like the economy and jobs."

    You've got that right. Why? Because everyone knows that Republicans got NOTHING to offer us, except anger, fear, division and hate.

    All of the GOP's economic, military and foreign policies are PROVEN FAILURES.

    February 7, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  8. Mary

    The GOP would have you believe that if we return to the 50's, things will be just fine. What they apparently don't realize is that you can't turn back the clock. It won't fix anything. They keep concentrating on controlling the behaviors of everyone who doesn't believe exactly they way they do, and not on the very real issues we are faced with today...unemployment, gang violence in our cities, a world on the brink of another great depression, zealots all over the world who kill each other because they can't control others, and the list goes on and on, and Republicans can't wrap their heads around gay marriage, a women who controls her own choices, and a population who thinks differently from them.

    February 7, 2012 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  9. Marie

    Let's make this clear. The Catholic Church who was completely silent on the issue of sexual child abuse, wants to take on the President over birth control. If so, I have one question. Does the Catholic organizations pay for prescriptions for men that include erectile dysfunction? If so, can someone please explain why contraceptives is an issue for these folk. Let's be clear, if benefits are covered for men, then contraceptives should be covered for women. Can someone also explain why this issue and not the issue of continued sexual abuse by priest all over the world. What hypocrisy! Archdioceses, get your priorities in order. Did you distribute letters to your congregation when you turned a blind eye to the exploitation of children by your priest.

    February 7, 2012 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  10. Get real

    Look at Romney's record; let's have a clear choice instead of two Democrats running for president.

    February 7, 2012 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  11. GI Joe.

    He ain't no choir boy -- but I do believe he enjoyed being an altar boy. wink wink

    What a putz.

    February 7, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  12. thomas mc

    The Church of Pervert Priests is still trying to tell the rest of us how to live!

    February 7, 2012 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  13. JWR

    Why not ban male vasectomies also?

    February 7, 2012 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  14. Sirned

    Leave your religion out of this country's politics....Geez what don't you Republicans not get about the separation of Church and state...

    February 7, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  15. Ohioexnurse

    Why is it that Repubs want small government and government to stay out of our personal lives unless the right wing disagrees with our personal choices. Same thing goes for the Constitution. They defend it until they disagree with it. A woman's decision upon being sexually violated is hers to make, not Rick Santorum's. If one of his daughters were to unfortunately be raped, she surely would want to get some help and would definitely know she could not go to her father. Rick, stay out of our personal choices. Rich women do not have unwanted pregnancies. Only the poor do because they cannot afford the doctor to give them a D and C for their " female problems." That was what it was like before Roe vs Wade. And I was and ob-gyn nurse so Rick, until you have seen the results of an botched home abortion on a 13 year old victim of incest, shut up!

    February 7, 2012 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  16. andy

    This is outrageous! If my wife gets RAPED, there'd BETTER be emergency birth control available to her! Anyone who says NO is no better than a RAPIST! Santorum and Romney don't GET it! We're talkijng RAPE! NOT TALKING abortion on demand.There's an obvious difference to EVERYONE BUT politicians who are pandering to angry, angry men who must believe there's no such thing as RAPE. It's the only way to explain it. These are the men who should be JAILED and put in the cells with a RAPIST.

    February 7, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  17. The Greedy Old PIgs have declared class war on US!

    "We are not in the 1950's anymore"

    The "brains" of the GOBP are now shooting for a return to the 1850s.

    February 7, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  18. Gary

    I am all for facing the consequences of our own irresponsible actions when not facing them means robbing another of their rights (right to life for instance). What seems to come up in this conversation too infrequently is society requiring males to face the consequences. Nature ensures that women do so. However, I do not support enforced consequences upon the victims of crimes such as rape or incest and I think society should value the life and health of the mother over that of the unborn. To my knowledge, no zero exceptions policy on anything (i.e. "zero tolerance" or "no child left behind") has ever worked out well long term. I support Romney as the reasonable candidate who will think about each issue as it comes and render decisions and policies with intelligence rather than one size fits all policies.

    February 7, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  19. GI Joe.

    I don't believe the Catholic Church should be mandating rules for people in the U.S.A.

    PERIOD.

    February 7, 2012 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  20. Stanz2Reason

    Shouldn't the fact that (Romney) "required all Massachusetts hospitals, including Catholic ones, to provide emergency contraception to rape victims" be praised as common sense decency?? On what planet is it OK for the religious views of the medical staff trump the health, well being and access to treatments of the patients??

    February 7, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  21. Big_D

    Right wingers should actually read the bible for once. The fetus is not a person and it is covered in many books even Leviticus which they seem to only read parts of.

    February 7, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  22. Jonna

    Wow. some of these comments about Santorum being heartless are pretty bad too. If you can tell me that you would be the one willing to go in with scissors and snip the spinal cord of a fetus a few months old that was from rape and the woman could not stand to finish the birth, then who is heartless?? I would not be happy to begin with a child due to rape, but the baby can be raised in a good home... not tossed in a trash can. When we treat lie as trash, we will all end up there in the end... Respect life as much as possible.My cousin was a child from rape... glad he escaped you all..

    February 7, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  23. disgustedcitizen

    So, I get raped, and then I am expected to give birth to this guy's child?????

    Who are these people???? Why are they being allowed to run for the highest office in this country? This is like the twilight zone to me!

    February 7, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  24. Nothing new here

    I am surprised that Santorum hasn't declared war on the Internet and digital technology.
    After all, this stuff wasn't available back in the 1950's.
    Maybe this is why Santo wears all those vests...Pat Boone, anyone?

    February 7, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  25. Lori

    What's disheartening is that the way Mr. Santorum has said this, it sounds as if Romney and the legislators were voting for the rape victim into being forced to take emergency contraception...when in fact, all that was requested was that it be made available to the victim..."offered" to the victim as stated by a previous post. Please respect the process, stop twisting facts and just tell us your opinions..you're not helping your case this way. (Democrat and proud to be one)

    February 7, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8