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. carrborian

    "santorum has efforted to distinguish between his personal beliefs, and his public policy decisions."
    the cnn staff should have efforted to take an english class so that they could have learned about, commas and the word "effort" before writing this news story.

    February 17, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  2. hootin'nanny

    Back pedalin' I see. I'd tell him to shut up, but then I wouldn't have any more entertainment. Just keep talkin' Rick and pals and we'll just keep giving ya all the rope you need. Sooner or later you might realize what's goin' on. But by that time it might be too late.

    February 17, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  3. rohan2727

    He won't have such a small nose for long, lying as much as he does...

    February 17, 2012 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  4. Nothing new here

    This guy is another pandering flip-flopper, and a disgrace to himself and other people of faith.

    February 17, 2012 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  5. Jamie from Riverside

    That's what he's saying today, not what he said yesterday.
    Tomorrow he'll be saying to throw women in a pool of water with a stone tired to their necks to see if they'll float or not.
    If they sink to the bottom they can have contraception coverage and if they float they don't get none.

    February 17, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  6. Nothing new here

    Santorum = Bad Joke.

    February 17, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  7. Tired of republican lies

    It's on tape...He flat out lied...I'm sure you can find it on youtube now.

    February 17, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  8. poopmeister

    I don't think that the politicians should be the ones that everyone is pointing fingers at, I think that the Catholic religion has to get up to speed and join us in the 21st Century! We live in a country where we do have separation of church and state; it's funny that the anti-contraception side uses that argument, when it should be the rest of us using that argument. I don't want religious interference in my everyday life! If you don't want to use birth control, due to your religious beliefs, then don't but don't put a road block in front of women that can't afford to pay out of pocket and do want to use it.

    February 17, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  9. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    Santorum, unlike Kennedy, would try toforce every person in the USA to like by Catholic rules

    February 17, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    He still wants to make government small enough to fit in a woman's uterus.

    February 17, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  11. honeybe

    Why does government have to involve itself in the personal choices a woman makes anyway? I resent the intrusion and certainly don't need the government making these choices for me, one way or the other. BUTT OUT.

    February 17, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  12. johnborg

    There's an entire school of thought which stems out of natural law to support Santorum's anti-contraception argument. It argues that contraceptions stop the flow of (God's) Nature and are therefore bad. However, umbrellas stop the flow of (God's) Nature too and I still see Santorum using one of those.

    February 17, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  13. ezduzit757

    The republicans have finally reached the bottom of the barrel of the "Anybody but Romney" clown car. It's only a matter of time (and not much time I think) before they chew this idiot up and spit him out.

    February 17, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  14. jon

    So he's trying to tell us that his personal beliefs of what he feels is right and wrong has never nor will ever have any effect on his decisions and his policy??? Right.

    February 17, 2012 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  15. Ron

    GOP tent is getting so, so small. No blacks, no hispanics, no jews, no gays, and no women!! We are watching the destruction of the GOP, from the inside!

    February 17, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  16. Phil

    Stop letting religion guide you through life. Grow a pair, separate from faith and think for yourself. Life without religion is wonderful.

    Embrace science...it created birth control. Use it.

    February 17, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  17. Lynn

    If Santorum doesn't use birth control, he would have more than 7 kids. Just one more lie he's telling.

    February 17, 2012 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  18. GI Joe.

    He's a JERK - that's reason enough not to vote for him.

    February 17, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  19. Gemini Girl

    Although I can't stand hypocritical ethically-challenged Newt, total liar & phony Willard or too-extreme-even-for-Republicans Santorum, I hope the latter wins the Repub primary, so that President Obama can easily wipe the floor with him, and I don't mean this as a double entendre, sorry! I will have to check our supply of popcorn, may need to be replenished!!

    February 17, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  20. Jeffer65

    He wants to bomb Iran. He was a Senator in PA but voters there wouldn't reelect him. He voted with Bush on every issue. His over the top talk makes him appear unpresidential to me. Enough reasons for me not to vote for him. Wise up Republicans, pick Ron Paul. Either him or I will be stuck voting for Obama. Frankly though, it doesn't really matter, both parties are bad for the country anyway.

    February 17, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  21. T'sah From Virginia

    ►Santorum clarifies birth control stance◄
    If woman rejects – then find someone else – or leave it in your pants
    That way it is FREE and at the same time you can let your woman be
    “And in the end – because of our faith – she’ll ALWAYS forgive me!!”

    The way of the righteous Right with their rightful cause and fake religious beliefs!!!

    Obama 2012!!

    February 17, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  22. Jane

    It's amusing how this man can stand up and lie through his teeth about what he does or does not believe in and how he wants to run other people's lives whilst crying 'big government interference'. I realize his children are probably at an educational disadvantage because of home schooling, but he should be intelligent enough to know that what he's said in the past is available to Everyone; it's the 21st century for heaven's.....oh wait. Never mind.

    February 17, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  23. RKN

    Too bad his parents did not use Birth Control.

    February 17, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  24. thinkergal

    I would laugh at this idiot, except that the country elected George Bush, so anything can happen!
    Obama 2012.

    February 17, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  25. anagram_kid

    He stated that as a president he would speak about how contraception is not OK. These were his exact words "not OK". On that note, I really hope the GOP/TP continues to support him. He has zero chance in a general election and will bring down other candidates when he is at the top of the ticket.

    Santorum 0012 BC

    February 17, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
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