Mitt Romney found himself in hot water over his opposition to expanding women’s access to contraception, less than a week after suggesting that he would “get rid of” Planned Parenthood, among other programs, to reduce the deficit. During a town hall in Illinois Monday evening, the former Massachusetts governor told a voter to “vote for the other guy” if she wanted access to “free birth control” and said that the federal government should not subsidize women’s health care through Planned Parenthood:
Q: I’m just wondering where you would suggest that the millions of women who receive their health services, such as mammograms, and HPV vaccines go?
ROMNEY: Well, they could go wherever they’d like to go — this is a free society. But here is what I say, which is the federal government should not tax these people to pay for Planned Parenthood. There are a lot of things that we have in our society that we may like, that we might not like, but that government should not be paying for.
Despite expanding health care to women as governor of Massachusetts — and even attending a Planned Parenthood fundraiser in 1994 as a Senate candidate — Romney has come out against helping women find affordable reproductive health services since announcing his presidential candidacy.
Beyond simply threatening Planned Parenthood, which provides necessary health care for millions of women, Romney has also called for cutting funds for Title X — the only federal program devoted to family planning — from the federal budget. He endorsed the so-called Blunt amendment to allow any employer to drop health insurance coverage for contraception and other health services on moral grounds, and spoke out against requiring employers and insurers to provide birth control coverage in their health care plans at no additional cost. Given that track record, many women and health advocates may indeed be inclined to “vote for the other guy.”