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."

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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. Margaret

    I thought we fought the birth control battle years ago. Nobody is going to force the day after pills down any woman's throat without her permission and signing a million forms. If my granddaughter is ever, and I truly hope not, raped I would want her to have the very best of care including those pills if that was what she wanted. There are times that the closest or only hospital is one with a religious affiliation. Santori can tell his daughters, sisters, and any female in his family not to take any sort of contraception and that is his choice, and once they reach legal age they can disobey him and that is their choice. I thank God everyday I am getting older. These people are nuts.

    February 7, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  2. Mike

    okay the haters are out there attacking Rick why because he has pointed out how two faced Romney really is? Please people get real that goes for you Romney suppoerts out their spreading lies for you guy , he is good enough lying on his own. Romney back in 2002 supported a woman right to choice today he claims not to there are even video where he calls himself a Moderate but today he is not? back in 2002 Romeny supported and sought Planned Parenthood backing in his run for Govenor today he oppses them? His wife Ann even gave them money back then. Back under Romneycare it required healthcare provides to give birth control products regardless of thier beliefs and today he opposes it.. How can anyone vote for this guy who has shown he is will to say or do anything to win, how can someone trust him in the Whitehouse, how can anyone trust a word he says.....

    February 7, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  3. rose

    I am catholic and I see no problem with providing this benefit. i do not necessarily approve of abortion for no good reason, but if my daughters were raped and they wanted an abortion then so be it. The law is only providing an option, it is not mandating anything. Common sense needs to prevail. As it for being free, that is another issue. We give away to much free suff and that is ruining our country. I work as an ER nurse and people make no effort to pay anything for their care, but smoke 2 packs of butts a day.

    February 7, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  4. Reggie

    The law says "offer" these contraceptive services, not require victims to use them. Seems it's the victim's choice, as it should be.

    February 7, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  5. LET THE WOMEN DECIDE WHAT'S RIGHT FOR THEM!!!! Not MEN!

    RomneyCare has the same provision as ObamaCare for contraception. Romney is a flip flopper!

    February 7, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  6. Ron

    Sanitorium is right because all sane people KNOW that Catholics don't use birth control or get abortions. Little boys can't get pregnant!

    February 7, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  7. logicnLA

    Another closed minded Repulbican comes forward. They all claim they want us to live by the Constitution but they forget what freedom means. Freedom means a choice of life partners, not laws restricting them. Freedom means having healthcare choices that can offer contraception if you feel you want it or need it without government intervention to say you can be denied it. Consitiutional Freedom means means I have the right to live in ALL 50 states under the same laws. States have rigths to certain laws but not about personal choice. and NO POLITICIAN OR POLITICAL PARTY has the right to take away those rights.

    February 7, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  8. jennifer in Houston

    This is beyond sick.. that a politician would try and score points with the mindless right by expousing continued misery for rape victims.. and Jesus wept.

    February 7, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  9. Melo-D

    Does Santorum really think this is important at all. What a buffoon! Get out of the race so we don't have to hear your garbage anymore.

    February 7, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  10. hypatia

    Santorum appears to be running for Grand Inquisitor.

    February 7, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  11. srslyrlly

    How about this: Males should not have any say on something that is purely a women's issue. All of them make me sick. The woman who suffers the rape should be able to get emergency contraception. Abortion should be a legal choice. An employer's religion should not dictate insurance just like a politician's religion should not govern a country's laws. Stop shoving religion down peoples throats. It's not right or fair. Its extremist, just like the religious leaders in the M.E. Is freedom of choice and religion not what this country was founded on?

    February 7, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  12. geggyg

    In Santorums world if the women who have been raped was single and after the birth he would probably demand that she marries the rapist , because in these twits minds a child should have a mother and father no matter what . If the women is married he would expect the rapist to have joint custody and visitation rights . He is a joke

    February 7, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  13. unbelievable

    Wake up America, how are these people your politicians? This guy is a grade A nut. How can anyone support this type of thought process?

    Signed, the rest of the free sane world

    February 7, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  14. Keith

    Yes Rick, where do we get our fundamental human rights? Are they to be denied us by theocrats?

    February 7, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  15. harbharb

    The Catholic Church should lose its tax-exempt status after having priests read that political statement to parishioners across the country while the aforementioned parishioners were on hand for services. The church want to do business and compete with everyone else, then they should have to follow the same rules as everyone else. The Catholic Church should sell chocolate crosses and ashtrays with the pope's face on them to raise money instead if the rules for doing business are objectionable. Religious right needs to go away. Go Democrats 2012!

    February 7, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  16. Dick Cheney is the smegma of mankind!

    And if the evilrelics take back "their country" soon women will flogged for "allowing" the rape! These conservative men are all for submissive women and are comfortable telling them what to do, after all, women are just their chattel, known in polite circles as "wives".

    And the product of this "union" when his little butt hits the delivery table will be on his own for food and shelter, because the heartless conservatives, now considers his mother a "welfare queen" because she could afford the rapist's baby.

    "christians" indeed, more like Muslims.

    February 7, 2012 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  17. Blayze Kohime

    The most frightening thing about Santorum is he is actually stupid enough to believe that such a statement will get him votes as opposed to loosing him votes. I have no love for Romney, but at least he doesn't have 'rape victims' on the list of people he offends.

    February 7, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  18. mk1

    Make no mistake, Santoram is not the only candidate that feels this way, they all do. They make no bones about it, they and the bigger government they propose want to control women by men, just as in the good old days. I sure hope women the country over fully realize how they are giving total control of their bodies to men. How dare a religious institution tell a woman what drugs she can or can not have because of their prejudices. The choice should be that of the woman, no the institution. Ah, wait, is said a four letter word, "choice", we can not have that now women must be dictated to like the good old days.

    February 7, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  19. BH

    I can hardly believe such idiocy from a Presidential candidate. It is an "offer" for pete's sake. What else would Santorum deny women victims. At least I know more good stuff about Romney now.

    February 7, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  20. GOP = Greed Over People

    Until we men can push the "rapist's" watermelon through our navel, we have NO voice in these matters.

    February 7, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  21. Shannon

    Were Republicans watching what just happened with Susan G Komen, do they really want to have this fight. We don't live in the 1950's we have the right to safe, available birth control in this country. Republicans hate women!

    February 7, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  22. gg

    ayatollay santorum that sounds about right maybe if things don,t work-out he could run in saudi-arabia

    February 7, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  23. Brian

    This is outrageous that he would even consider criticizing Romney for this. The VAST majority of American people believe rape victims should have every method of contraception and abortion services at their disposal. Someone's religious beliefs are irrelevant when a woman who was recently raped is lying on an exam table and desperate to avoid having to choose between giving birth to a rapists baby or having an abortion. Emergency contraception is NOT ABORTION. In a very, very tiny percentage of instances it might cause a fertilized egg to be evacuated. But it's never even been proven that this could happen – it's only speculation by right-wing fascists.

    The fact is that a rape victim's right to control what happens with her body is a thousand times more important in this case than a doctor or nurse's religious beliefs.

    February 7, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  24. TommyTT

    Wow, are we really re-fighting birth control? Taking a position that makes it hard to get for RAPE VICTIMS? That's not just antediluvian–it's downright cruel.

    February 7, 2012 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  25. Vic

    Rick Santorum is spreading lies about Romney's record. Mitt will fight back and expose his record as a Washington insider who used his position to profit from Lobbyists as well as his penchant for Earmarks! He also vetoed the Right to Work bill. This guy is a fake and not as Conservative as he claim he is. We dont need an extremist "values" guy. We need Mitt to turn this economy around and finally get this country on the right track. Santorum, dont be whining once Mitt attacks your record. You started it you big jerk!

    February 7, 2012 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
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