Santorum clarifies birth control stance
February 17th, 2012
05:17 PM ET
3 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. Connie

    Condoms are a form of birth control, should we take them off the market too, or is it OK for Catholics to use condoms?

    February 18, 2012 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  2. Samsdog

    Polls suggest 98% of American Catholics have used birth control. This puts Santorum and his wife at 2%.....Does he really believe he is representing Catholic /American interests? He should keep his personal beliefs to himself.

    February 18, 2012 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  3. flanative32

    This whole birth control thing makes me mad. Men do not have uterus's or ovaries! It's our body and our choice! Let us decide (including our spouses) if we want to have children not politicians, or the church. No offense if this is left up to the church all woman in the US would be like the Duggers! It also makes me mad that my insurance WILL NOT cover birthcontrol (even if its medical necessary) but will cover things for a man such as Viagra and all the others! It is scary to think that we as woman could lose all rights to contraception....we could end up back in the days when it was illegal to use contraception! This is just my opinion, and of course we all will no never agree. We just agree to disagree on these issues, but please do not take my rights away!

    February 18, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  4. 4commonsensenow

    I'm a guy and even I see the 'responsibilty' of birth control placed mainly upon the women. Once you've had your family, it's easier for a man to get a procedure. Condoms, Ive never trusted. The pill isn't good for you, thats a fact. Think about what its doing in the first place. One thing I learned as a man, to my benefit, is that salt intake reduced helps a woman with cramping and mood.Salt retains water, makes you bloat, moody. So there's my tip besides maybe more heavy petting.lol

    February 18, 2012 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  5. Manuel J.

    Are you all illiterate or just so biased you "can't see the forest fore the trees"?

    Santorum's Senate votes and history said that, as a public figure, he supported birth control. Personally, he felt it was against his beliefs.

    You people are easily led by the media and political parties. In other words, you are ultra-stupid!!

    February 18, 2012 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  6. Ccollies

    Santorum's stance on anti-birth control shows why so many people distrust Roman Catholics in politics. Here we see, once again, the bejeweled finger of the pope in American politics. I am old enough to remember JFK's address to the nation stating that he would not be a pawn of the pope. He wasn't but Santorum, Gingrich & Christie (NJ governor) show the power of the pope in American politics. Christie has just vetoed the rights of gays to marry even though both houses of the legislature voted for it. I guess he's more interested in hot fudge sundaes than the rights of his fellow citizens! Remember this when you vote!!!

    February 18, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  7. NameRon

    Abstinence does not work. The man is to the right of sanity!

    February 18, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  8. bee

    What a jerk. Santo, u will never be president.

    February 18, 2012 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  9. Engineer in Raleigh

    Yep. We all know that social conservatives wouldn't dream of using the government to impose their beliefs on others. Well, they might, but only on Gays... And women, but only sometimes. Oh, and non-christians. And men who's wives are in persistent vegetative state. And, and, and...

    February 18, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  10. Walker

    There is no LEGITIMATE reason to oppose birth control. If you want to base your stance on the Bible, you have to take into account the fact that the laws in the Bible pertain to people of that time. "Go forth and multiply" for example was because the families needed to be larger to take care of the flocks and the farmlands. We are no longer in that situation (HELLO, DUGGARS!).

    February 18, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  11. diridi

    you ask his wife, she uses too...idiots.

    February 18, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  12. Ralph100

    Santorum is a certified nut case. His wife had a baby that only lived a few hours, they dressed the dead baby up and took it home from the hospital for his younger kids to see. He and his wife slept with the dead baby until it's funeral. What normal person would do this to their young kids? What normal person would do this period. This man is scary!!

    February 18, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  13. Jeff in Virginia

    Rick Satorum is a liar who will say anything to get elected.... Just like Mitt Romney. What a sad GOP field.

    February 18, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  14. Mark

    This goof has 8 children. If everyone thought so much of themselves and had eight children we'd be in a terrible mess. Thousands, if not millions more children would be living in poor conditions and on social welfare, that is for sure!

    February 18, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  15. bookgirl

    That he and his wife don't practice birth control is just too much information. Unlike him, I do not want to know what goes on in other people's bedrooms. He is missing the point, as usual.

    February 18, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  16. Jarsbait

    Santorum is a joke. The fact that he has credibility in the GOP is an indication of the absolute dearth of real ideas from that party. All they can do is stir up nonsense like the contraception non-issue and attack gays and women's health. They haven't put forth a credible deficit plan, tax plan, or budget where they have control. They have worked to undermine our personal freedoms, our right to vote, and our ability to organize. They have destroyed democracy in Michigan with an over-reaching draconian emergency manager measure that seems to be designed to steal land, power, and the rights of citizens for representation. Hateful, power-grabbing creeps, all.

    February 18, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  17. ElmerGantry

    Pandering, pure and simple.

    February 18, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  18. AngryBob

    Santorum has already demonstrated that he's willing to let his personal beliefs guide him legislatively. This backtracking is just more Orwellian doublespeak. He is a theocrat through and through who is willing to be the mouthpiece and enforcer of religious edicts from his church. Rick Santorum is a bat-sh## crazy religious lunatic, hell-bent to impose his views on the rest of us.

    February 18, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  19. Michael

    Isn't this the same man that said he didn't agree with the 1960's Supreme Court decision that made it illegal for states to ban birth control (even for married couples)? Sounds like he is not being truthful. I think that he really would like to give the states back the power to ban birth control again.

    February 18, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  20. Mike

    Santorum. hahaha nuff said.

    February 18, 2012 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  21. Art

    I think it's funny that he says that he voted for contraception in the same sentance saying it's harmful to women and dosen't work. The pill I've heard has problems but that's just one type is he saying a diaphragm or the sponge is harmful and dosen't work? On a side note Santorum is a moron.

    February 18, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  22. Punisher2000

    Santoro just can`t help it. Since he has little or no economic platform to differentiate him from the other GOPers, he concentrates on social issues. The fact that he sounds like an old fart is a result of him thinking the world is 6000 years old.

    February 18, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  23. JJ

    Nobody cares, Santorum. Back under your rock. Shoo.

    February 18, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  24. JJJ

    NOBODY CARES. Go back under your rock, Santorum.

    February 18, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  25. jt_flyer

    I just read that for women under 30 most births occur outside marriage. Which new law can Santorum create to stop that devil's work?

    February 18, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
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