Groups hit back against billionaire's birth control comment
February 16th, 2012
07:30 PM ET
2 years ago

Groups hit back against billionaire's birth control comment

(CNN) –Women's advocacy groups fired back after a major Rick Santorum donor stirred controversy Thursday with a now-viral comment about contraception.

Calling his comments "insulting and irresponsible," Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards said "birth control is basic health care and used almost universally by women. It is not something to belittle on national TV."

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Foster Friess, a billionaire mutual fund manager, made headlines earlier in the day when he joked women used Bayer aspirin as birth control "back in (his) days."

"The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn't that costly," Friess said on MSNBC.

He has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to a pro-Santorum super PAC, the Red, White, and Blue Fund.

Later Thursday night, Friess said in another interview on MSNBC that it was merely a joke and denied that he was giving any medical advice for birth control.

"A lot of people who are younger than 71 didn't get the context of that joke," he said. "Back in my days, they didn't have the birth control pill, so to suggest that Bayer aspirin could be considered a birth control is pretty ridiculous and quite funny. So I think that was the gist of that story."

Meanwhile, National Organization for Women President Terry O'Neill called on Friess to "immediately apologize" to woman.

"Mr. Freiss' comments today on MSNBC that women use aspirin between their knees for contraception were not only offensive, but demeaning and disrespectful to women," O'Neill said in a statement to CNN. "Santorum should also use this time to renounce his anti-birth control stance."

Asked in an interview on Fox News Thursday night, Santorum said it was a "stupid" and "off-color" joke and added that comments made by supporters don't reflect on him or his campaign.

Also see:

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Santorum took in $3.6M in four years; highest tax rate was 28.3%

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Filed under: 2012 • Rick Santorum
soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. mrKarnes

    Wow. I bet he came up with that little gem himself.

    February 16, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  2. PM Ohio

    And to think, the GOP is making a big deal out of an Obama aide quoting McCain's Chimichanga quote...this is one of the most disturbing things I have read in a long time...and since it is coming from a multi millionaire businessman, it is truely scary.

    February 16, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  3. PM Ohio

    Jim in San Mateo said: "Amazing that there are some idiots out there that still think this way. I wonder if Santorum will disavow his comment."

    The answer is no. Just like they fail to rebuke idiots who shout things about Obama at thier fundraisers, like "born in Kenya" and "Obama is a Muslim"...these people are disgusting.

    February 16, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  4. Biggge

    Please keep these type of comments coming, we luv it... Go Obama 2012.... It is funny old men have all the answers for women health.....

    February 16, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  5. Lola

    I was thinking.................
    maybe Santo Santissimo could run as president of Afghanistan........................
    and this guy as his vice................

    Just saying.....

    February 16, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  6. PM Ohio

    Does anyone know what companies this idiot owns? I bet he owns Defense contractors...since the only thin on Santorum's platform is anti-woman, anti-gay and war with Iran...

    February 16, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  7. Romney is not My Hero

    This man is doing a great job – of making Sanctimonious look even dumber than before. I support your efforts Mr. Friess, you demented nutjob. Thanks for the contribution.

    OBAMA 2012!

    February 16, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Sounds like Freiss regularly puts his head between his butt cheeks.

    February 16, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. The Dude

    Another red-meat cretin with more money than brains and no concept of the struggle for women's rights. I am ashamed for him.

    February 16, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  10. Noodle Nose Johnson

    From Wikiepedia:

    Friess has also donated $100,000 to Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker to help defeat the Democrats' recall effort in 2011. In addition, he has reportedly donated more than $3 million to the conservative commentator Tucker Carlson's The Daily Caller website.[7] At one of the semiannual, private seminars held by the Koch brothers in June 2011, Friess was recognized for his donation exceeding $1 million to the Kochs' political activities.[10]

    February 16, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  11. In Chlt

    ...Geez people...it's an old joke, give it a rest. And btw...what's wrong with keeping your legs crossed? Why does the idea of abstinence always seem to tick so many people off?

    February 16, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  12. Mikey

    @PM Ohio – These are the top 10 holdings of the Brandywine Fund:

    Apple, Inc., VeriFone Systems, Inc., Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corp, eBay Inc, VF Corporation, Robert Half International Inc., Qualcomm, Inc., Mylan Inc, Tractor Supply, Polaris Industries, Inc.

    February 16, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  13. GI Joe.

    Sharia law right here in the good ole U.S.A.

    February 16, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  14. Randy, San Francisco

    Maybe Fox news will pick up Freiss' statement as scientific fact to push their conservative social and political agendas.

    February 16, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  15. citizenwife

    Reblogged this on Citizen Wife and commented:
    Is he seriously kidding? This has to be a joke. However, looking at how dangerously out of touch male politicians seem to be about women's health issues overall, part of me believes that he is most definitely serious. I am understanding of the fact that you have your own beliefs and sticking to them. However, there is a line between holding fast and holding fast to the point where it is dangerous for the women that you govern. I also wonder, would this be so hotly contested if there were more women in politics?

    February 16, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  16. David in Houston

    Welcome to the GOP...

    A woman would have to be out of her mind to pull the level for any of the current GOP clowns...er, I mean...contenders.

    February 16, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. FLIndpendent

    What year is this again? What on earth are these Repubs thinking? Do they honestly think they are on the right side of this issue? They've already lost the minorities and gays, now they're sure to lose the women.

    February 16, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
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