Mitt Romney is out with another hypocritical op-ed misrepresenting the Obama administration’s new regulation requiring insurers and employers to provide reproductive health care services (like contraception) without additional cost sharing. “On January 20, 2012, the Obama administration affirmed a rule that would force Roman Catholic hospitals, charities, and universities to purchase health insurance for their employees that includes coverage for contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization, in violation of their religious principles,” Romney writes, adding, “This is wrong.”
But here, the former Massachusetts governor is hiding his war against contraception behind the facade of abortion, hoping to distract from his own past support for requiring Catholic hospitals to provide birth control to rape victims in 2005. And he’s lying about the Obama administration asking religious institutions to provide “abortifacients” in the process.
As the Jan. 20 rule explains, insurers and employers will cover “Evidence-based items or services that have in effect a rating of A or B in the current recommendations of the United States Preventive Services Task Force (Task Force)” and “the comprehensive guidelines supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration.” The contraception language is included in the HRSA guidelines, it reads: “All Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.” Those include:
Male Condom, Female Condom, Diaphragm with Spermicide, Sponge with Spermicide, Cervical Cap with Spermicide, Spermicide Alone, Oral Contraceptives (a.k.a. “the pill”), Patch, Vaginal Contraceptive Ring, Shot/Injection, Emergency Contraceptives, IUD, Implantable Rod, Vasectomy, Transcervical Surgical Sterilization Implant for women
These methods act to “prevent pregnancy before, and only before, fertilization occurs.” Emergency Contraceptives like Plan B — which conservatives have attempted to paint as an “abortion pill”– halts the union of sperm and oocyte and inhibits ovulation. It does not work after fertilization.
Twenty-eight states — including Massachusetts — already require coverage of contraception and the Obama regulation is modeled on their example. In fact, it’s even following in Romney’s own foot steps. As the Boston Globe reveals, “In December 2005, Romney required all Massachusetts hospitals, including Catholic ones, to provide emergency contraception to rape victims, even though some Catholics view the morning-after pill as a form of abortion. He said he was acting on his legal counsel’s interpretation of a new state law – one passed by lawmakers despite his veto – but he also said that “in his heart of hearts,’’ he believed that rape victims should have access to emergency contraception” — despite the conscience objections of religious institutions.
“The initial injury to Catholic religious freedom came not from the Obama administration but from the Romney administration,’’ said C.J. Doyle, executive director of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts told the Boston Globe. “President Obama’s plan certainly constitutes an assault on the constitutional rights of Catholics, but I’m not sure Governor Romney is in a position to assert that, given his own very mixed record on this.’’