Yesterday morning, Mitt Romney’s campaign unveiled a new petition asking supporters to “stand for religious liberty.” Here’s the opening line: “The Obama administration is at it again. They are now using Obamacare to impose a secular vision on Americans who believe that they should not have their religious freedom taken away.”
Their “proof”? The administration’s recent decision, as part of the Affordable Care Act, to require that insurers provide contraception coverage for women who choose it without a co-pay or deductible.
The “attack on liberty” claim comes from the provision that requires most employers that employ and serve people of many faiths to be included in the new law, including religiously affiliated organizations like hospitals and universities. But the petition doesn’t take the time to explain that the reasoning behind this is that women of all faiths are employed by these organizations and should have equal access to contraception. Or that churches who primarily employ and serve members of their own faith will be exempt, which you can read more about on our Contraception and Faith page.
Even more interesting is that as governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney supported a contraception law just like it.
At the time, he didn’t think it infringed on religious liberty one bit. Yes, Mitt Romney’s flip-flopped and now has a new stance. Shocking, we know. The thing is, this time it could have a big impact on women’s health. We need to make sure everyone hears about Mitt’s change of opinion, and we’re counting on you to spread the word.
Here are the facts on Mitt’s record as governor and the new national law:
Before Mitt was governor, Massachusetts passed a mandate just like the new national contraception law
In 2002, Massachusetts Governor Jane Swift signed a law required insurers to cover contraception, excluding church or church-owned organizations, but including non-profit religious institutions that served the public, like schools and hospitals. From the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, “Gov. Jane M. Swift has signed into law legislation that requires insurers to cover the cost of contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy. Pro-choice advocates had pushed the bill for years. The law exempts health insurance contracts purchased by churches or church-controlled organizations.”
As governor, Mitt upheld it in his historic health care reform
When Mitt Romney passed health care reform in Massachusetts, coverage was mandated to include “reproductive and sexual health care” and prescription drugs, which included contraceptives.”
Both laws covered all FDA-approved contraception, including Plan B
Plan B, one of the biggest issues in Mitt’s current petition, was actually covered in the Massachusetts health care law he upheld.
As governor, Mitt spoke out in support of Plan B in certain cases
Back in 2005, Romney reversed a ruling that would HAve allowed hospitals to opt out of providing Plan B to rape victims if “they objected on moral or religious grounds.”He even weighed in himself, saying “My personal view, in my heart of hearts, is that people who are subject to rape should have the option of having emergency contraception or emergency contraception information.”
Today, Massachusetts is one of 28 states that already passed laws to require insurers to cover contraception
“28 states require insurers that cover prescription drugs to provide coverage of the full range of FDA-approved contraceptive drugs and devices; These states include: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.”
98% of Catholic women have used birth control, and 77% support covering it
A recent study from the Guttmacher institute found that 98% of Catholic women have used contraception, virtually the same as the rest of the population, of which 99% have. And when asked, 78% of Catholic women are behind providing it without a co-pay or deductible.
Take Mitt’s newfound stance on the contraception law, and add to it his reversal to take a hardline stand against stem cell research. Then add his switch from being proudly pro-choice to so anti-choice that he said he would have supported a Personhood amendment for Massachusetts, just like the failed attempt to pass an amendment in Mississippi that would have classified zygotes as people and rendered common forms of birth control like the pill—and abortion even in cases of rape and incest—illegal.
What you get is Mitt’s real stance on women and religious liberty: He’ll say pretty much anything to get elected. And this petition is just the latest case.
That’s why we need supporters on board to spread the word. Share the truth behind his petition now.