March 19th, 2012
08:23 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney can't escape birth control questions in Illinois

Peoria, Illinois (CNN) - Mitt Romney tried to make his final day before Tuesday’s Illinois primary all about the economy, but in the end he couldn’t escape the distracting questions about birth control that have seeped into the Republican presidential discussion for weeks on end.

Romney faced two questions about contraception as he wrapped up his last event Monday, a sun-splashed outdoor town hall on the campus of Bradley University in Peoria.

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After Romney riffed for about 20 minutes on President Barack Obama’s management of the economy, he solicited questions from the large student-heavy audience.

As the first questioner made apparent, these voters were not pre-screened.

“So you’re all for like, yay, freedom, and all this stuff,” said the first woman to approach a microphone. “And yay, like pursuit of happiness. You know what would make me happy? Free birth control.”

Her remark drew a mix of applause and boos from the crowd, and a rebuke from the Republican frontrunner.

“You know, let me tell you, no no, look, look let me tell you something,” he said, waiting for the crowd noise died down. “If you’re looking for free stuff you don’t have to pay for? Vote for the other guy, that’s what he’s all about, okay? That’s not, that’s not what I’m about.”

That exchange was followed by another question about Romney’s plan to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

A female audience member asked Romney where he might suggest “millions of women go” without Planned Parenthood offering reproductive and sexual health care.

“Well they can go wherever they’d like to go,” Romney told her. “This is a free society. But here’s what I’d say, which is the federal government should not tax these people to pay for Planned Parenthood … The idea of the federal government funding Planned Parenthood I’m going to say no, we’re going to stop that.”

Also see:

Santorum hits back at 'economic lightweight' charge

Republicans ramp up efforts to slam Obama health law

Poll: Romney lead widens in Illinois

Filed under: 2012 • Illinois • Mitt Romney
soundoff (218 Responses)
  1. JPX

    This is why Romney will lose in 2012. Republicans have disgusting views of social issues.

    March 19, 2012 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  2. Blue

    Mitt is a dud! He is not fit to be president.

    March 19, 2012 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  3. Grady

    yep...I am voting for the other guy...

    March 19, 2012 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  4. mfx3

    Amazing. Economy in shambles, unemployment sky-high, gas prices leaping, and conservatives are still fussing over birth control. This is why the GOP primaries are nothing more than an academic exercise. They've got no message, no solutions, and no chance.

    March 19, 2012 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain

    An annual wellness exam for a woman at a private clinic can cost around $200; Planned Parenthood charges about $80.

    So here's my question to you, Mittens, as the financial wizard that you profess to be: If you're a woman with no insurance or are under-insured, where would you go for your annual exam?

    Exactly ...

    March 19, 2012 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  6. DanW

    Holy smokes,
    Who in this country thinks that they have the right to control when a woman wants to have children, and how many??????

    March 19, 2012 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  7. Mom of Two

    Well, Young Woman and Gov Romney, when a woman's employer provided health plan covers contraceptives it's not free. The employee pays a portion of the insurance premium. Most of the services Planned Parenthood provides are not abortions.

    March 19, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  8. S. B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This just shows that Romney doesn't understand women. Those that can't afford health insurance must go somewhere. Why is Planned Parenthood so reprehensible if they help women get health care when they have no place to go? Is it because they provide abortions to what, 1% (10% tops) of the people that come in? That is just wrong.

    March 19, 2012 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
  9. Qaz

    This is the most corrupt, incompetent, dangerous tyrannical administration in American history. It's not politics as usual. It's not just Democrats versus Republicans. Obama has a long history of being at odds with American values and with America itself and the core principles of this country.

    The Quote of the Decade:

    "The fact that we are here today to debate raising America 's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America 's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that, "the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better."

    ~ Senator Barack H. Obama, March 2006

    March 19, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  10. Kay

    Good bye Planned Parenthood, hello crack babies.

    March 19, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  11. barry

    Silly stuff. Nobody wants to keep people from taking birth control we are just asking you to pay for it. Stop expecting the Good Fairy to pay for things for you. We are broke buy your own things. Free ride has to end.

    March 20, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  12. Lisa

    No surprise that there are no posts here yet because everyone is tired of hearing this crap from him. Republicans are all for "freedom" which they feel that Pres. Obama is taking away from us all but they want all regulations gone from huge corporations and tax cuts for the very wealthy. However they would like to crawl into everyone's bedroom and rummage through our medicine cabinets. Now THAT is real freedom. These guys are a joke.

    March 20, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  13. Descarado

    When is Obama going to be grilled by the media over his opposition to the born alive bill that would assist infants who survived their abortion?

    March 20, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  14. Shardik

    "The idea of the federal government funding Planned Parenthood I’m going to say no, we’re going to stop that.”

    Might as well save time and start planning Obama's second inauguration now.

    March 20, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  15. enuff

    Birth control should not be free. However, I believe that it SHOULD BE covered by insurance. It is cheaper for an insurance company to cover birth control than it is to cover a baby to age 26. Plus, if viagra is covered, then the consequences should be covered too.

    March 20, 2012 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  16. mk1

    The guy is clueless, no question about it. God help us if any of these morons wins in November, 17th century here we come.

    March 20, 2012 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  17. Mark

    Mitt has worked hard for every penny he has. He gave all his inheritance away to his alma mater. He is going to have a hard time with people who want everything for free.

    March 20, 2012 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  18. Fire0bama

    Excellent answers, Gov. Romney! Yes, please stand firm against these free loaders!

    March 20, 2012 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  19. claudial

    I'm glad to see that young American women are noticing the Republican's War on Women. You give them an inch and they will take a mile. What's next, hormone replacement therapy for post-menopausal women? You sure don't see them all upset about insurance companies paying for men's Viagra or visectomies. The only thing that will stop their horrible laws is to vote the GOP out.

    March 20, 2012 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  20. dorothy

    Mitt (Mr. Crass) Romney. No disrespect to Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, but this is the guy who should be referred to as "Cantstandya".

    March 20, 2012 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  21. aaron

    There's no gauging how stupid voters can be, but Santorum might have hitched Romney onto a ship that's sinking with right-wing propaganda that few right-wingers, even Fox News fanatics, can be relate to.

    March 20, 2012 01:58 am at 1:58 am |
  22. Kris

    Nice responses by Romney, standing up for the idea that you don't have a right to force someone else to give you things.

    March 20, 2012 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  23. Irskan

    ok then. so much for the female vote.

    March 20, 2012 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  24. Choc

    “If you’re looking for free stuff you don’t have to pay for?..."

    Is Romney paying all of his expenses to run for potus out of his own pocket and without being a tax write off? Or are taxpayers footing the bill?

    BTW, how many offshore bank accounts does he have? Anyone?

    March 20, 2012 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  25. Choc

    How much is it costing taxpayers to pay for er3ctile dysfunction syndrome pills? Yearly? To date?

    How much is it costing taxpayers for the mandated v4ginal probes and sonograms?

    March 20, 2012 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
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