February 9th, 2012
06:26 PM ET
3 years ago

Santorum says opposition to contraception rule doesn't restrict women's rights

(CNN) - Rick Santorum said Thursday that arguments against a recent federal law requiring health insurance coverage for contraception were not ignoring the rights of women.

"It's the churches' money, and forcing them to do something that they think is a grievous moral wrong, how can that be the right of a woman?" Santorum asked in an interview on CNN's "John King USA."

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"That has nothing to do with the right of a woman," Santorum continued. "This has to do with the right of a church not to spend their moral resources in a way that's inconsistent with their faith and this is not a casually held position, this is something that is serious. We're not talking about denying women the access to contraception, they can go and get it, but we're talking about having a church of which they happen to chose to work for and they know their position in working for them, you're now forcing them as a condition of employing people to pay for something that again is a grievous moral wrong."

The law would require religious institutions like hospitals and schools to provide health insurance coverage for contraception, but churches would be exempt.

In the interview Thursday, Santorum described the role of faith would play if he became president. He acknowledged the strong role religion plays in both his personal and political life, but said it wasn't the only factor.

"I am not guided solely by faith, I am guided by reason," Santorum said. "I have an obligation as a public official to make a reason argument to people of faith and no faith as to why this is good public policy for America, so I rely upon reason when I do that."

Santorum, who has recently weathered attacks from fellow candidate Mitt Romney on his spending record during his time as a Pennsylvania senator, said his rival's record was no example.

"I always fought for entitlement reform, I led the charge on welfare reform. If you look at Governor Romney's record, he doesn't talk about his record on spending in the state of Massachusetts. He doesn't talk about his record of exploding a brand new entitlement that cost billions of dollars, not just people's money in Massachusetts but in Medicaid dollars that you all across this country."

Also see:

Santorum targets Obama, Romney at raucous Texas rally

Bachmann: Santorum win a 'shot across the bow'

Gingrich looks to Super Tuesday lift

McCain blames turnout (not Romney) for Tuesday results

Romney: Rivals are 'Republicans who acted like Democrats'


Filed under: 2012 • Rick Santorum • TV-John King U.S.A.
soundoff (95 Responses)
  1. vet in tx

    Fact: this only applies to schools & hospitals.......whom receive......federal funding, churches are excluded, until next year. Churches who have employees follow federal law. Attacking religion would mean purposely fighting against allowing a religion from building a place of worship, I dont remember 44 doing that..........who did?

    February 9, 2012 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  2. Vin Dicated

    Is the health plan covering Viagra? Well then, there ya go! Cover birth control for women.

    February 9, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  3. LouAZ

    "Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid.” – Heinrich Heine (1797 – 1856)

    February 9, 2012 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  4. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I think that he and others are missing the point. These are not primarily religious institutions. A church is while a hospitals are primarily medical facilities. How do people not see this? Many states already require contraception be provided. My question is why do they allow erection medicine and not contraception? There is another point that someone pointed out - there are no women in the heirarchy of the Catholic church. How does that affect their thinking? I think it is male focused.

    February 9, 2012 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  5. enuff

    What part of churches are EXEMPT does not translate? This is about women who work at hospitals that receive government funding such as medicaid and medicare for payments. not everyone that works there is of the catholic faith. and should be able to have access to birth control. NO ONE is regulating that people MUST take the birth control – it is so they have a personal choice to get it.

    February 9, 2012 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  6. Jilli

    Good lord this man is a social neaderthal.

    Hey Rick – it's 2012 and the US is NOT a theocracy.

    February 9, 2012 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  7. Scott A

    Santorum: "I am not guided solely by faith, I am guided by reason,"

    So what was the reason Santorum drove his dead baby child over state lines to his home to show his children the body and have them play with it? Yes, that really happened according to the Santorums themselves. What kind of parent does that to their children and claims to be guided by reason?

    February 9, 2012 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  8. normajean @ verizon ,com

    Santorums thinking is so twisted that I find him dangerous.,, from the voting standpoint'. He was even quoted as saying that he wanted contaception to be illegal.. I don't beliieve he is stupid enough to say something like that but his stance on any political question when it comes to HIS religion makes him an impossible candidate for president. :Separation of church and state was put into our laws for a reason. This man indictes that he would challenge that reason at any opportunity.. WE WILL NOT ACCEPT THAT FROM HIM OR ANY ONE ELSE!!!!!

    February 10, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  9. pmk1953

    He doesn't believe women HAVE rights. If women have no right you can't restrict them. Keep 'em all barefoot and pregnant. A true catholic.

    February 10, 2012 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  10. mollyd

    Didn't Santorum's wife have an abortion????? Yep, she did.

    February 10, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  11. Sara Ennor

    This rule proposed to restrict women working at a religious or catholic affiliated employers would more accrately be described as restricting working people's rights, restricting the rights of the low paid. The person who works for such an organization that makes reasonable money could still go out and buy their free selection of health care – buy the provision contraceptive medicines. But the maid, janitor or kitchen worker, its not so easy. This is religious freedom for the well off.

    February 10, 2012 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  12. openyoureyes

    I am continuously disappointed that left-leaning individuals let a group of extremists control the message of so many subjects these days. They provide half-truths, and often far less than half of what they say is based on fact.

    In 2006 publicly funded family planning services prevented 1.94 million women from having unintended pregnancies that would have resulted in 810,000 abortions. It seems that if the christian right was really serious about reducing abortions there would be a huge movement to reduce unintended pregnancies. Instead of yelling about the symptom (abortion) focus on preventing the problem. Instead of screaming "war on religion" work on solving the underlying problem rather than righteous indignation and speeches of moral superiority.

    Arguing against contraception will only lead one place – more abortions. If you are against this policy then clearly you do not understand that abortions can be eliminated by this policy. Regardless of your party affiliation or religion I don't think anyone would not be for less abortions.

    February 10, 2012 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  13. Marry

    Ex-senator Santorum is still on this “family-value – contraception – against health care – pro live (let’s go to war with Iran…) stances! He does not understand how serious the voter is getting – if that is all you talk about while bashing the President without ever having worked on solutions in YOUR party, we know, you got nothing of substance to sell! However, Santorum is trying to sneak out of this – has someone sort of told him his slimy radical views do not fly…?

    February 10, 2012 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  14. J.V.Hodgson

    The assumption of Santorum is that all employees of these organisations are All catholics. if thats true its discrimination and wrong. The concept of the HHS doe nothing to interfere with the churches right to preach to its followers not to use contraception it simple endure that whoever you are and whoever you work for if you chose to use they are covered by your employment medical insurance
    The whole point is that catholics are trying to Impose thier religious tenets on to all 360m Americans the law as proposed still allows all catholics not to use contraceptives. religious law or temet of any religion is not good Sate or federal law, those lws especially federal mus apply to evy person and organisation other wise discrimination and bringing religious tenets and beliefs in to national law is unconstitutional anyway.
    Santorum would overturn Roe vs wade as well if he gets the chance.
    He also ignores reality that many catholics use contraceptives already whether they pay (or how) for them or not is irrelevant. the whole debate and argument is hypocritical as a subsatntial part of the catholic hierarchy turns a blind eye to contraceptive use.
    Regards,
    Hodgson

    February 10, 2012 02:43 am at 2:43 am |
  15. Thunder

    It's the Church's money right up until the point that they give it to the employee as a part of their compensation. It's not charity, it's not an option, it's salary. Due to the way the health insurance industry works, the Church controls the premium payments, and so they think it's their money? How about the rest of the employee's salary? Is that their money too?

    February 10, 2012 03:17 am at 3:17 am |
  16. Txgrl3

    Hard to believe that a generation ago many Republicans supported Planned Parenthod, including Prescott Bush, senator from Connecticut andnfather of George HW Bush. The "population explosion" was a common topic in public discourse. Since that time the population ofmthe US has increased by another 100 million, and we're drowning in our own filth, running out of oil and going to war for it.
    But a bizarre thing has happened since Griswold vs Connecticut and Roe vs Wade, when people had a more intelligent and pragmatic view of the world. Fringe fundamentalist relgions have grown while mainstream religions have dwindled. We are dumbing down in every way, and this war against women that makes us no different from the Arab nations we deride for their misogyny is just one of the symptoms of our decline. If anyone had ever told me that in the 21st century we would be seeing a candidate like Rick Santorum win even one primary I would not have believed it possible. Tragic.

    February 10, 2012 03:38 am at 3:38 am |
  17. migeli

    These religious guys make me sick.Just like some priests.Say one thing and do another.Never mind all this abortion nonsense.If those kids lived you wouldn't care if they had food or healthcare would you Rick?Your rich friends who have a stake in running prisons would take care of them.Instead of talking all pious why don't you do as Jesus did.He was a socialist, by the way.duh?

    February 10, 2012 04:20 am at 4:20 am |
  18. BeverlyNC

    There is a very strong reason for the Constitutional calling for the separation of church and state. Santorum is the perfect example of why they need to stay separate. Republicans are trying to outlaw contraception, take away womens rights, take away worker rights to fight for fair pay, safe working conditions, and benefits, and even our right to vote. Not only that but they want to stuff their extremist social/religious values down our throat. So typical – they destroy our economy and then ignore that completely and want to fight about abortion, contraception banning, denying everyone healthcare, want to demean the poor whose numbers they expanded exponentially, and turn our nation into a corporate dictatorship.
    No thank you. I'll stand with President Obama and the real leaders who live and think in the real world of the 21st century. Leaders who believe in America, care about ALL Americans, protect the rights of ALL people, let all religions be free and not demonized, and look for ways to peace not more war. I want the Party of the People, of education, of science, technology, intelligence, reason, and honor, character, and rule of law.
    That means we need President Obama and Democrats back in full power in all 3 branches of government to restore our nation and our democracy.

    February 10, 2012 04:31 am at 4:31 am |
  19. JPNAmerican

    Why don't you let Women decide what does and doesn't restrict THEIR rights. I agree with the church thing but you have no say for women Santorum

    February 10, 2012 05:24 am at 5:24 am |
  20. mjbrin

    as a catholic i had to use the pill to help with severe menopause symptoms and ever felt guilty about it. the church and the males in it need to get educated in reality. catholic women aren't as stupid as they try to make us out to be

    February 10, 2012 05:37 am at 5:37 am |
  21. mjbrin

    opps i left out an "n".... meant to type "never" felt guilty and i still don't

    February 10, 2012 05:39 am at 5:39 am |
  22. Rudy NYC

    The conservative war against women, and anyone else who doesnt submit, continues.

    Santorum is wrong. He's wrong because he feels that everyone should live their life according to his religious principles, which is simply not reality. Not everyone who works at businesses run by religious groups are members of that religion. Those businesses pay taxes, cannot discriminate when hiring, and pretty much have to follow the same rules that all US businesses have to follow.

    Santorum is already on record stating that he thinks separation of church and state is wrong. He would bring his faith to the White House, and impose it on everyone. Santorum would ban all contraceptives, everywhere. He would ban same sex marriage. He would ban gays from serving in the military. He would teach religion in public schools. Santorum would be whatever comes to his mind from the will of his God.

    February 10, 2012 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
  23. The Elephant In The Room

    He just demonstrated why he, nor any of the Christian fundamentalist conservatives [or psuedo-conservatives like Palin, Bachmann, Perry, Trump, Cain, Gingrich, Barbour, DeMint]. SHOULD NEVER hold a national office [POTUS, VEEP, Cabinet Sec, etc.]

    Each time the GOP latches on to some "I`m-holier-than-you" schtick, they reveal themselves as the Neanderthals they are.

    February 10, 2012 05:54 am at 5:54 am |
  24. Sandra

    Bottom line...it's the money.

    February 10, 2012 06:51 am at 6:51 am |
  25. Jules

    I understand both sides of this issue, but for this to come up now shows that women can be just as ideological as the conservatives. This was a dumb move at this time and I am a huge Obama supporter. Sometimes you just have to say let's understand that the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. As for Santorum talking about the church's right to use their "moral resources" the way they see fit would ring a little more true if they hadn't used those resources to move pedophile priests around to try and keep a scandal quiet. Not a morally right thing there. And now they pay out millions and millions of their "moral resources" because they never did the moral thing.

    February 10, 2012 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
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