Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Contraception Issue Heats Up as Santorum Makes Headway Contraception Issue Heats Up as Santorum Makes Headway

NEXT :
This ad will end in seconds
 
Close X

Not a member? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation
 

 

The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field

campaign 2012

Contraception Issue Heats Up as Santorum Makes Headway

+

Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney 

CINCINNATI, Ohio – As GOP front-runner Mitt Romney stepped up his attacks on the Obama administration over the thorny issue of contraceptives and the Catholic Church, Newt Gingrich took on the former Massachusetts governor for enforcing a similar policy during his time in office.

The relatively sudden and intense interest in the issue by the two Republican presidential candidates may be aimed at curbing the momentum of rival Rick Santorum, who is more closely aligned with reproductive health issues and has gained strength in states voting Tuesday night: Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri.

 

“There's been a lot of talk about the Obama administration's attack on the Catholic church,” Gingrich told a packed house at Price Hill Chili Restaurant here.  “Well the fact is, Gov. Romney insisted that Catholic hospitals give out abortion pills against their religious belief when he was governor.”

The former speaker was referring to a recent regulation approved by the Obama administration that requires women’s contraceptive services to be covered by insurance policies under the new health care law. The Catholic Church would not have to cover contraception in policies for employees, but there is no exception for employee insurance policies offered by Catholic hospitals, universities and social-service agencies.

The Romney campaign responded with a statement saying that Romney, while he was Massachusetts governor, proposed eliminating all coverage mandates as part of changes in the state's health care laws, including the general contraception requirement.

 

Meanwhile, Romney intensified his attack on the Obama administration during a stop in Johnstown, Colo. “Remarkably, under this president’s administration there is an assault on religion -- an assault on the conviction and religious beliefs on members of our society,” Romney said. “Recently (Obama) suggested that instead of a church being able to determine who qualifies for the ministerial exception from certain laws, that the government should be able to make that choice, not churches.”

The administration dealt “a real blow, particularly to our friends in the Catholic faith” with the contraception regulation, he said.

While Romney had largely avoided reproductive issues on the campaign trail, Gingrich has been raising the contraception decision on the stump for over a week now, calling the Obama regulation a “war on religion.”  The former House speaker today argued that Romney will have little ability to debate Obama on socially conservative topics like this, calling his past positions “too similar”

“Over and over you get the same pattern,” Gingrich said. “And I think that a Massachusetts moderate finds it very hard to draw a sharp contrast with somebody who is an Illinois radical."

 

Both Romney and Gingrich are trying to hold their own with socially conservative voters in Tuesday’s contests, where rival Rick Santorum has shown signs of coming on strong. Colorado and Minnesota hold caucuses tonight while Missouri conducts a beauty contest primary.

Sarah B. Boxer contributed. contributed to this article.

DON'T MISS TODAY'S TOP STORIES

Sign up form for the newsletter
Comments
comments powered by Disqus
 
MORE NATIONAL JOURNAL