Santorum, Other Republicans Continue To Assail Contraception Policy
News outlets wrote about the ongoing political debate over insurance coverage for birth control.
Politico: Paul Ryan, Chris Van Hollen Clash Over Obama Contraception Stance
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), argued this morning on NBC's Meet the Press program that Obama's desire to have most religious hospitals provide birth control coverage to employees is "not an issue about contraception." ... But Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) sharply disagreed, accusing Republicans of harping on "red-meat social issues that rile up their base" (Levinthal, 2/19).
CNN: Santorum Clarifies Birth Control Stance
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. ... "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" (Snow, Killough and Wallace, 2/18).
The Washington Post: Rick Santorum Tries To Show He Can Win In November
More problematic are the issues that could hurt Santorum in a general election. Like most Republicans, he opposes abortion, but his stance is more restrictive than many. ... The recent White House missteps on contraception gave Santorum, a devout Roman Catholic, an opportunity to attack the administration on grounds of religious freedom. But broader issues of women’s rights present potential problems for his candidacy. Though he has voted in favor of contraception, he has said of birth control, “I don’t think it’s a healthy thing for our country" (Balz, 2/18).
The Wall Street Journal: Social Issues and the Santorum Surge
Social conservatism, Mr. Bell argues in his forthcoming book, "The Case for Polarized Politics," has a winning track record for the GOP. ... "You would think that once the economy started looking a little better, Obama would want to take a bow . . . but instead all of a sudden you have this contraception flap. From what I can find out about it, it wasn't a miscalculation. ... They were determined to push it through, because it's their irreplaceable ideological core. ... The left keeps putting these issues into the mix, and they do it very deliberately" (Taranto, 2/18).
Politico: 2012: The Year Of 'Birth Control Moms?'
The country is deeply divided on abortion, but not on contraception; the vast majority of American women have used it ... Democratic strategist Celinda Lake says it’s enough to "really irritate" independent suburban moms and "re-engage" young, single women who haven’t tuned into the campaign so far. ... Not so, says Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway, who’s advising Newt Gingrich. Voters understand that Republicans aren’t trying to come between women and the pill (Kenen, 2/18).
The Associated Press: Intensity Question For Romney Stirs Doubt For Fall
Romney has pivoted toward the GOP's conservative base in light of Santorum's surge. He dove into the debate over whether birth control ought to be covered by health insurance provided by church-backed employers by faulting the Obama administration's original push to do so as an "assault on religion." ... A Pew Research poll taken last week shows the Republican voters nationally who think Romney is a strong conservative has dipped to 42 percent from 53 percent in November (Beaumont, 2/19).