In an interview with NewsMax Friday, GOP hopeful Newt Gingrich said President Obama’s accommodation on the new contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act may actually be “worse” than the original plan. That same day, the administration announced a revised proposal to reduce the burden on religiously-affiliated employers — a move that has satisfied many critics, but not Gingrich:
GINGRICH: First of all, I don’t know that he made a big shift. It’s a clever maneuver that may actually be worse, not better. I want to explore it carefully. A number of leading Catholic intellectuals believe this is actually worse. It’s certainly worse as a matter of conscience.
Gingrich’s position that the accommodation is even “worse” than the original plan seems to put him even farther to the right that his fellow Republican presidential candidates on the issue who have characterized the change as “another deception.” And it’s an especially bold claim considering that Gingrich doesn’t explain why he think the new policy is worse, as it will require insurance companies, instead of religiously-affiliated employers, to provide an option for contraception coverage
The “Catholic intellectuals” Gingrich mentions is likely a reference a group who signed onto an open letter opposing the mandate. One of the letter’s top signers, Robert George, is a prominent anti-gay Catholic activist associated with the National Organization for Marriage. Another top signer, Mary Ann Glendon, is a Mitt Romney supporter who has gone to so far as to contest the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV. “The Holy See in no way endorses contraception or the use of condoms, either as a family planning measure or in HIV/AIDS prevention programs,” she said.
But Gingrich seems to be putting himself even farther to the right than the signers of the letter, as even they don’t seem to think the accommodation is worse than the original decision, though they are opposed to both.