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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Birth control issue lands Rubio on Obama campaign radar

1

March

Sen. Marco Rubio is officially on the Obama radar. A campaign e-mail sent late Wednesday began:

If you're a woman, who do you think should have control over your choice to use contraception: You or your employer? Mitt Romney apparently thinks your employer should be able to deny you coverage for birth control. Tomorrow morning, Senators Roy Blunt and Marco Rubio are putting a bill on the floor of the Senate to allow all employers -- not just religious organizations -- to deny insurance coverage for birth control and any other medical service they find "morally objectionable." For a brief moment this afternoon, it looked like Mitt Romney was showing some spine and opposing the proposal. But literally within minutes, his campaign walked it back, clarifying that he supports the bill that would let any woman's boss decide whether or not her preventive care is covered.

The bill, offered as an amendment to a transportation measure, would allow employers and insurers to opt out birth control and other provisions of the health care based on moral or religious grounds. Rubio is an original co-sponsor and his office says he'll vote yes today. He also recently introduced his own bill, which was more narrowly focused on the uproar Catholic Bishops raised over contraception requirements. That bill is not up for vote today.

Romney was asked about the issue Wednesday on the Ohio News Network. The reporter deemed it as the "Blunt-Rubio" measure, but described something more limited ala Rubio's new measure. Romney's response created news.

"I'm not for the bill, but look, the idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception within a relationship between a man and a woman, husband and wife, I'm not going there," he said.

But later, Romney said he misunderstood the question and that he did support the bill. "Of course I support the Blunt amendment. I thought he was talking about some state law that prevented people from getting contraception so I was simply - misunderstood the question and of course I support the Blunt amendment," he said on Howie Carr's radio program in Boston.

That led to the Obama campaign e-mail Wednesday night, which read in full:

Friend --

If you're a woman, who do you think should have control over your choice to use contraception: You or your employer?

Mitt Romney apparently thinks your employer should be able to deny you coverage for birth control.

Tomorrow morning, Senators Roy Blunt and Marco Rubio are putting a bill on the floor of the Senate to allow all employers -- not just religious organizations -- to deny insurance coverage for birth control and any other medical service they find "morally objectionable."

For a brief moment this afternoon, it looked like Mitt Romney was showing some spine and opposing the proposal. But literally within minutes, his campaign walked it back, clarifying that he supports the bill that would let any woman's boss decide whether or not her preventive care is covered.

If the bill passes, you can thank Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum's support for helping to pave the way for this anti-contraception agenda.

I'm not just sending this email to women. This is an issue for everyone: We're not about to sit back and let the other side tear down access to better care.

Stand for a woman's right to make her own health decisions.

Crafted in response to President Obama's announcement that birth control will be available to women, without any co-pay or deductible, the Blunt-Rubio bill would let employers deny coverage for any medical services they object to. This is not about churches and houses of worship -- they're already exempt under the Obama administration's guidelines. This is about any employer -- a restaurant, a retail store, or a corporation -- having the power to decide what's best for you and choose not to cover the care you need.

It doesn't stop at birth control. Your employer could also deny coverage for a number of preventive services: mammograms, cancer screenings, and possibly even flu shots.

If the Republican bill becomes law, the nearly 80 million women who receive coverage through their employers could lose access to these preventive services, which many just gained under the Affordable Care Act. And the decisions being made about their care would more likely be left to men: Businesses are 80 percent more likely to be owned by them.

That's the agenda that Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are endorsing. And it doesn't end with just this amendment.

Romney said he would have supported a "personhood" amendment for Massachusetts, which could have banned many common forms of birth control, including the pill, and fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization. And he's supported legislation to force women seeking abortions to first view ultrasounds. Rick Santorum's actually called contraception "harmful to women" and "harmful to society."

Now the Senate is voting on whether employers should be able to object to certain kinds of medical care, willy nilly. Tell these Republicans that this is a dangerous overreach.

Tell them we all should be able to make our own health decisions:

http://my.barackobama.com/Our-Own-Health-Decisions

Thanks,

Stephanie

Stephanie Cutter
Deputy Campaign Manager
Obama for America

[Last modified: Thursday, March 1, 2012 2:12am]

    

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