Santorum clarifies birth control stance
February 17th, 2012
05:17 PM ET
2 years ago

Santorum clarifies birth control stance

(CNN) – Rick Santorum sought to bring some clarity to his birth control position on Friday, which he said has been misconstrued by opponents which have put him on both sides of the issue.

"My position is birth control can and should be available," the former senator from Pennsylvania said at a campaign event in Columbus, Ohio.

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Santorum has worked to distinguish between his public policy position, and his personal beliefs, which he explains is guided by his Catholic faith.

"My personal position is well known, obviously well known," he said. "As a Catholic – and I do my best to be a faithful Catholic – my wife and I we don't believe or practice birth control as an article of faith of our church."

A February CNN/ORC International Poll shows that 81% of Americans - and 77% of Catholics - disagree with the notion that artificial means of birth control is wrong.

The White House recently announced a proposal which would require companies and insurance providers to cover costs of birth control. After facing a barrage of public pressure - from, among others, Catholic bishops - the White House announced a compromise, though that plan was similarly criticized.

- More: Obama administration asks for delay in legal fight over contraception

A wealthy Santorum backer, Foster Friess, landed himself in headlines Thursday for a birth control joke, which the candidate described as "stupid," "off-color," and not representative of his positions. The comment drew the ire of several women's organizations, and Friess - who has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to a pro-Santorum super PAC - apologized for the comment in a Friday post on his website.

Santorum drew the distinction between his personal and policy stance in a 2006 interview which has lately gone viral.

"I support Title X, I guess it is, and have voted for contraception and although I don't think it works, I think it's harmful to women, I think it's harmful to our society," he said in the interview with Fox News.

His campaign website says he wants to "repeal Clinton-era Title X family planning regulations, and will direct HHS to restore the separation of Title X family planning from abortion practices and restore a ban on referrals for abortion."

Title X is a family planning grant program primarily for low-income individuals originally created in 1970, according to the Department of Health and Human Services website. The site says the law disallows federal funding for programs which involve abortion.

And on Friday, Santorum emphasized that his personal opposition to birth control should not raise concerns about the availability or legality of contraception should he be elected president.

"That's my personal belief and I think to be attacked on that, which I have been, that somehow or another just because I personally believe this that somehow I am now going to be the uber-czar that is going to try to impose that on the rest of the country," he said. "It is absurd and it is absurd based on my record in the Congress."

"I have voted in the past for funding for it for poor women," he added. "As I said before, I believe that the better alternative is for abstinence education – for federal funds to be used for that, not for birth control but I voted for it."

- CNN's Mary Snow, Ashley Killough, and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report.

Also see:

Friess apologizes for birth control comment

Poll: Santorum remains on top in Michigan

Maine GOP chair: Romney will maintain win

Republican donor expected to shell out $10 million to Gingrich super PAC


Filed under: 2012 • Health care • Rick Santorum
soundoff (128 Responses)
  1. jamesKs

    He is a liar

    February 18, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  2. Tom

    Unless and until the American public pulls their heads out of their rears and get behind Ron Paul, We don't stand a chance of getting Odumbo out of office and getting this country back on track. Santorum, Romney, Gingrich are nothing but jokes!

    February 18, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  3. CheeseSteak

    Republican birth control: rubber glove

    February 18, 2012 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
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