Mitt Romney has attacked the Obama administration’s regulation requiring employers and insurers to provide reproductive health care services — including contraception — by arguing that the rule is undermining the religious liberties of Catholics and imposing “a secular vision on Americans who believe that they should not have their religious freedom taken away.” As ThinkProgress has reported, Romney’s newfound sensitivities contradict his record as governor of Massachusetts — where he accepted a very similar contraception equity law — and his previous public commitments to increasing public funding for birth control. In 2005, Romney even asked the Massachusetts Department of Health to issue regulations requiring all hospitals to issue emergency contraception to rape victims, without providing an exception for Catholic hospitals.
Now, an examination of Romney’s financial investments reveals that the very same GOP frontrunner who is now petitioning the White House to extend the regulation’s conscience clause and exclude more women from the benefits of birth control is himself invested in and profiting from pharmaceutical companies that produce the frequently prescribed and extremely common medication:
Romney’s Goldman Sachs 2002 Exchange Place Fund, valued at over a million dollars in 2010, brought in nearly $600,000 in gains in 2010 and is invested in:
- Watson Pharmaceuticals: manufacturer of nine forms of emergency contraception (which Romney incorrectly identifies as “abortifacients“).
- Johnson & Johnson: launched the first U.S. prescription birth control product in 1931 and produces various forms of birth control.
- Merck: produces various forms of birth control
- Mylan: produces birth control medication and filed the first application for a generic birth control pill last year.
- Pfizer: a contraception producer that recently had to recall about a million packs of birth-control pills that weren’t packaged correctly.
Romney often disclaims any responsibility for or knowledge of his own investments by claiming that they are held in a private trust. But since filing his legally-required public financial disclosure reports and certifying that the information is “true, complete, and correct” to the best of his knowledge, the trust ceased to be a “blind trust” as he knew what was in it. Romney signed such disclosure forms last August and during his unsuccessful 2008 presidential bid in August 2007.