Election 2012: Barack Obama to Gain as Republicans Flounder Over Contraception

An escalating row about the acceptability of contraception in modern America is threatening to ruin all efforts of Republicans to oust President Barack Obama in November’s election.

The Republican Party is trying to push moral issues back up the national agenda, while polls are still demonstrating that voters remain generally unfazed. Photo: Aaron Webb/Flickr

Some appear to have interpreted Mr Obama’s scrapping of a rule ordering religious groups to pay for employees’ contraception via health insurance as their first victory in a new “culture war” that they are now seeking to intensify, writes The Telegraph.

Rick Santorum, who is currently leading in national polls for the party’s presidential nomination contest, said last week that contraception was “not OK”.

“One of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about before is, I think, the dangers of contraception in this country – the whole sexual libertine idea,” Mr Santorum told reporters.

“[Contraception’s] not OK, because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be,” added the candidate.

In response, Democratic Sen. Patty Murray wrote in an appeal: “I feel like I woke up this morning on the set of Mad Men. … Republicans have set their time machine for the 1950s.”

Mr Sanctorum was criticized by Democrats and women’s groups after Foster Friess, the billionaire businessman who is a sponsor of Sanctorum’s campaign, suggested women should simply keep their legs closed instead of taking the contraceptive pill.

“Back in my days, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraception,” Mr Friess said in an interview. “The gals put it between their knees and it wasn’t that costly.”

Later Friess, 70, highlighted that he was joking. “I deeply apologise and seek your forgiveness,” he wrote on his website. Mr Santorum furiously distanced himself from what he called a “stupid joke”.

One more candidate Newt Gingrich dismissed Barack Obama’s attempt to compromise on the contraception mandate, suggesting that the president’s war on the Catholic Church will not stop until he is voted out of the White House, says The Christian Post.

“I frankly don’t care what deal he tries to cut; this is a man who is deeply committed. If he wins re-election, he will wage war on the Catholic Church the morning after he is re-elected,” Gingrich said Friday.

The candidate, a recently converted Catholic, accused Obama of acting against the principles embedded in the founding of the country. “This country was founded by people who came here in order to avoid religious persecution,” he said.

“The very basis of this country is religious liberty. Our core document says we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights and Barack Obama seems to cut across those.”

The former Speaker added that if he were the president he would usher in a total reversal. “This administration is waging war on religion but so are the courts. This is why we need a movement that’s bigger than just beating Obama.”

He added: “We need a movement that understands that we’re going to change the Congress, the White House, the bureaucracy and where necessary, the court.”

Evangelicals and pro-life groups are also slamming the President. Care Net President Melinda Delahoyde said in a statement, “Shifting the mandate to insurance companies rather than employers represents a political sleight of hand that changes nothing and continues to infringe on the freedom of conscience of faith-based employers.”

She added: “The president needs to know that objections to the contraceptive coverage mandate are not about money, but about abridging the fundamental religious liberty of faith-based institutions by entangling them in practices which violate their convictions.”

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