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. sid

    I don't understand why the republicans don't like birth control. Would they rather have more abortions. abortions are cheaper than birth control pills but its a hell of a way to do birth control. So the rich will have birth control and the poor will either have an abortion or have a kid on welfare. No sane employer wants to pay the cost of a live birth if it can be avoided. Cut welfare cut the safety net and what do you have? crime and a revolution....

    March 20, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  2. chill

    It's a free country if you have the money. And don't feed me the line about workign hard. Millions and millions of Americans worked hard and didn't take on huge amounts of debt and we keep getting further and further behind. Want to make money? First inherit millions of dollars, right Mitt?

    March 20, 2012 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  3. iadadman

    How can anyone take this guy seriously. “Well they can go wherever they’d like to go. This is a free society" Says the guy who would outlaw abortion? They can go wherever they want to go? That doesn't mean anything.

    "What to do about starving people?" "Well they can eat whatever they want to eat!"

    He's making about as much sense as George W Bush at this point. He just says whatever sounds sort of right for his target audience. The fact that any rational person would be ashamed to talk like this just doesn't seem to trouble him. A very W trait.

    March 20, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  4. Elbert

    "And ah – ya kno my boyfriend, yeah we been datin for a couple months and stuff now and, ya kno, he likes all that pursuit of happyness stuff too, ya kno, but he don't wanna pay either, ya kno... so ah, yeah if ya wanna make us both happy you'd go ahead and make those condoms and stuff like free, ya kno."

    March 20, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  5. beevee

    if it is a free society... as Mr. Romney says then why do we need a president as a head of a state? Mr. Romney's answers were totally thoughtless.

    March 20, 2012 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  6. Richard

    He said it, "Vote for the other guy". That will be a vote for women's rights!

    March 20, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  7. trvor

    He doesn't want to fund planned parenthood but he seems to have no problem funding the office of faith based initiative. We need to stop letting Bible thumpers run for office.

    March 20, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  8. AC

    Contraception help prevent unwanted pregnancies, and everybody that lives in the real world knows that a lot of these unwanted prnancies become dependent on the government, which is more costly. Invest now and reap the savings later, you'd think this so call economic heavy weight would understand, but using a boxing metaphor if he's a heavy weight it must be in the sub-novice category.

    March 20, 2012 08:40 am at 8:40 am |

    Just another one of Willard's infamous flip flops. The man has NO CORE!!!

    March 20, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  10. MiketheElectrician

    Do these guys know that birth control pills also are prescribed for other ailments. My wife has fibroids on her utererus, and she takes b.c. pills to regulate her periods. I agree with an article I read that we should make it just as hard for men to get viagra....hmm, wonder what those are used for... OBAMA!!!! 2012

    March 20, 2012 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  11. mprice

    Good answer!

    March 20, 2012 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  12. J.Crobuzon

    Grilled Romney on Wry? Eww.

    March 20, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  13. Lucky18

    In Romney's world, if you can't pay for it, you can't have it! That's o.k. for the people that can afford it, but what happens to the others?
    Romney said he didn't care for the poor...He meant it!

    March 20, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  14. ShawnDH

    Ha Ha. These absurd social issues obsessions that Republicans have already lost with the American public will surely haunt Romney all the way through November. I'd like to thank America's conservatives...for helping Obama get reelected. Thanks guys!

    March 20, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  15. Elbert

    Yeah, those nasty Republicans wanna make us, like, pay for stuff. That means they must hate women, gays, minorities, pot smokers and dumb people. That does it, I'm votin for Obama, again.

    March 20, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  16. coy4one

    Just think...if birth control had been around when Romney, Gingrich and Santorum were born, we would be looking at more qualified candidates today!

    March 20, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  17. Lucky18

    So, that's it...People have a clear choice between someone Like Barak Obama who cares about poor people and MItt Romney, who couldn't care less!!!

    March 20, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  18. Get real

    @Chuck Weidemann- how about they go to the church. The scripture actually says, "Give to Ceasar what is Ceasar's and give to God what is God's." Let's not forget what most liberals are always screaming – "Separation of church and state!"

    March 20, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  19. Debby

    Good for Romney all these people want "That Obama Money" so let them vote for him and our country will be more in debt with people getting free handouts.

    March 20, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  20. kindasorta

    Take that for everyone who says Romney will say anything just to get elected. You want a choice? Romney or the OBortionist. Pretty clear choice.

    March 20, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  21. Love Me Some Shoes

    Good answer. Since when is birth control a right and not a privilege? I think people need to rethink what the govt needs to provide for us. It might be used to regulate other things (which trust me I understand) but seriously next thing you know people will expect the govt to be practically providing everything and doing everything.

    March 20, 2012 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  22. unhanon

    Involuntary taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood (through legislation signed by Pres. Nixon): approximately $360 million per year.
    Involuntary taxpayer funding of Exxon (through tax breaks used as "incentives" for Exxon to continue to search for new oil deposits) approximately $4 BILLION per year.
    How come its okay to support taxpayer subsidization of a for-profit corporation, but not okay to support subsidization of contraception?
    I'm not saying I'm for "government paid contraception". I'm just saying that there is inconsistency here.

    March 20, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  23. Insurance

    Birth control isn't free. We pay money for insurance to cover things like prescriptions. Letting companies dictate what they will and will not cover is like letting the fox guard the hen house. You can make the religion argument for anything. Let me tell you something, Mitt. Birth control is prescribed for a whole host of reasons that having nothing to do with contraception. Offer insurance or don't offer insurance, but don't play games with people's lives just to make a point.

    March 20, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  24. Mitt Romney Is Soo Plastic he Makes Mannequins Looks Real

    Ann Romney DONT need birth control pills, so like Romney said, “Well Ann can go wherever she’d like to go,” because they have enough money to pay for it!!!!

    But what about having your insurance company pay for your healthcare services, regardless of religion or some mandate being put in place due to ideological believes?!!!!

    March 20, 2012 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  25. setnommarih

    Doesn't anyone take responsibility for themselves any more. I am not wealthy, but I am also not going around crying gimme, gimme gimme. People exclaiming that they have a "right" to something scare me. They already claim a right to my money, what next, my house?

    March 20, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
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