Romney’s War on Contraception

Written by Cristina Page

Let’s start with a fact: Ninety-nine percent of American women who’ve had sex have used contraception. This particular fact is arguably the cornerstone — or a cornerstone — on which an important part of our private lives are built — at least for those of us who have sex and want to plan decisions like when we have a family.

And this brings us to a second fact. This election year is the first in which American’s access to contraception will be dramatically increased or dramatically scaled back depending on who wins the Oval Office. With contraceptive policy, decision-making power is not equally distributed among the branches of government. Almost all decisions can be taken by one federal official: the president.

And so, with less than a month to the election, it’s important to understand how immediate and encompassing the changes could be. Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have very different views of whether people should have access to contraception

If elected president, Mitt Romney has announced his plan to do three things as it relates to contraception. They are:

1. Romney plans to end Title X, the nation’s contraception program for low-income Americans that serves 5 million people per year and is estimated to prevent one million unintended pregnancies each year too. (it also saves taxpayers $3.4 billion in costs annually that otherwise would have been borne by Medicaid for prenatal care, delivery and infant care.) Title X currently supports six in ten of all family planning health centers in the United States. Romney plans to eliminate the program and with it coverage of contraception to more than 4 million people.

2. Romney will, as he put it, “Get rid” of Planned Parenthood. Not an empty threat or a misleading one. Last year, the Republicans came within a hair of shutting the federal government down because they wanted to strip Planned Parenthood of its federal funding. President Obama held firm, winning the game of chicken. But Romney won’t be a defender of what is the largest provider of contraception in the country. If Planned Parenthood takes that massive hit, losing the $487 million of the federal funding it receives from Medicaid for contraceptive services and other federal grants for STI treatment, prevention and cancer screenings, it will be cut at the knees. The defunding would eliminate access to care at Planned Parenthood for half of it’s patients, 1.5 million people a year.

3. Romney will remove contraceptive coverage from Obamacare. Even if Romney doesn’t succeed in reversing Obamacare, which he promises he will, he would still eliminate contraception. The Secretary of HHS who is appointed by the President can simply highlight the word contraception and press delete.

Millions of Americans will be stripped of contraceptive access in these three acts promised by Romney.

The average American woman spends 30 years of her life trying to prevent pregnancy and only three years trying to get pregnant or actually being pregnant. Men have a lot at stake on this issue too, arguably more, since the average male spends close to 40 years trying to prevent pregnancy.

The comments section of this post will no doubt be filled by those asking, “Why should we pay for you to have sex?” This is the wrong question. Family planning is one of the most widely relied on preventive health services used by Americans. Access to contraception reduces unintended pregnancy, resulting in future pregnancies that are healthier, healthier mothers and healthier babies. All these outcomes save money too. Restricting access to contraception leads to a dramatic increase in unintended pregnancy as well as surges in maternal death.

There’s one other guarantee with the Romney plan: more abortions. Like most Republican pro-lifers, Romney says he finds abortion unconscionable, but won’t support the most obvious means to reduce their number.

Family planning is the foundation on which many Americans structure their lives — especially in tough times. In fact, when the economy suffers, family planning providers report a surge in patients getting long-term contraceptive methods, like IUDs and vasectomies. Supporting one’s family is not only an American value, it’s a biological instinct. The right wing has tried to shame those who use contraception at all – think of Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a slut for merely saying contraception should be available to women in college. But for most Americans contraception is a way to behave responsibly.

The war on contraception is escalating and will continue beyond the election too, and anything that can bring attention to the cause is worthwhile. President Obama has done it, Planned Parenthood has done it, and even I, in a modest way, have tried to draw attention to this political conflict by creating a 2013 calendar featuring photographs of leaders in the war on contraception, the people who are defending American’s ability to plan their families and enjoy healthy sex lives free from unwanted, life-altering and avoidable consequences, as it should be. If you agree, please consider supporting this campaign and spreading the word.


Related Stories:

Study Confirms Obamacare’s Birth Control Mandate Could Reduce Abortion Rate

Why Do Women Use Birth Control? Believe It or Not, Nobody Asks

5 Ways A Romney Supreme Court Could Crush Us


AP Photo/ Evan Vucci


Jane Mckenzie
Jane Mckenzie5 years ago

this man needs to get educated! Although he has never been famous for allowing the facts or reason to get in the way of his arguments. Women need cotraception, education information and access to services to protect their health and especially their reproductive health.

Marlene C.
Marlene C5 years ago

Mitt Romney has more than enough to support many of the children who would be born as a result of unwanted, unplanned pregnancies. HA! His supporters are now trying to present his "kind, caring" side so the voters can see the "real" Mr. Romney. "My way or the highway" is neither kind nor caring -- I think what we've seen is what we'll get with a Romney administration!

Karen Howard
Karen H5 years ago

Romney & Ryan are vowing to cut the deficit. How can they if they deny contraceptives to a large portion of our population? If your figures are right and 1.5 million people a year won’t have access to contraceptive measures, there will be more pregnancies. That will result in illegal, back alley abortions (if R&R deny abortion rights) or a massive growth in population, which will cost us all.
When we talk about reproductive rights, the right wingers automatically translate that to “abortion”, which it is not. It’s the right to decide whether I want to have sex, how (or if) I protect myself from sexually transmitted disease or pregnancy, and what to do if I become pregnant.
Those asking “why should we pay for you to have sex” don’t understand that they’re not paying for others to have sex. They’re paying for education so people can make better choices. They’re paying to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (there are now some STDs resistant to treatment). They’re paying for better prenatal care so we have healthier babies and, thus, a healthier population.
R&R evidently don’t realize that denying contraception and reproductive healthcare will be more expensive in the long run. How will they cut THAT deficit?

Bonnie Villarreal

Romney is not a qualified republican especially since he wants to cut off the access to birth control. OMG now women are going to have to leave all the responsibility up to themselves by actually thinking about when and who to have sex with but even more scary is rape, if she gets raped she is going to be impregnated by a rapist and then be forced into illegal abortions - which does nothing to stop rape. As long as there is rape and as long as there are poor choices, women need abortions and contraception...Good thing my parents worked their asses off to raise me in a low crime community, and thank goodness that I use my brain to prevent pregnancy. At least I know I'll be OK with or without government help.

Bill Eagle
Bill E5 years ago

The war on contraception will mean more babies born out of wedlock, and more back alley abortions.

Leslie Gaiter
Leslie Gaiter5 years ago

Let me first say that I’m not an expert in political campaigning, but this campaign for the presidency is a lot closer than it should ever had been. Whoever is running our current president’s campaign has missed a great opportunity provide by the republican party.

For a year, during the republican primaries, republicans have told us all why Mr. Romney shouldn’t be president. Why hasn’t there been advertisements quoting Senator Santorum saying Mr. Romney would be the worst candidate for president. Or Mr. Gingrich telling the American public that Mr. Romney has been running for president since 1992.

The republican primaries provide a wealth of quotations by republicans tell us all why Mr. Romney shouldn’t be president, why haven’t we seen advertisements with their picture, video and quotes.. Everyone from Perry to Bachmann each had something say about a Romney presidency. Why isn’t the president’s campaign using this information?

If you someone in the president’s campaign, please pass on my advice.

janice b.
jan b5 years ago

Science have discovered that even cave-dwellers used herbs for contraception. Fact is, we just have too many people in the world for too few jobs. Seniors in the USA are going to be working longer....and some til they drop taking jobs from the young . Automation-technology have taken jobs away forever ..even if mfg jobs come back here. The religious-folks need to recognize that when God said GO MULTIPLY there were only two people on earth at the time and I would think HE would want us to use common sense and not deplete the natural resources and destroy the planet.

Anna Undebeck
Anna Undebeck5 years ago

Thanx for the article.

Vince P.
Vince p5 years ago

Have to agree with most of the posters on here, Planned Parenthood and other programs that help women, children and the poor are one of the best investments the US Government can make.

So Romney, and other Repugs, any other politicians who don't believe that then they need to be voted out of office. And as a side note, the food stamp program aka SNAP, is also a very viable program for the poor, disabled, and unemployed in this country., so leave this program alone , too.

Marianne C.
Marianne C5 years ago

If Romney were to be elected, we could count on the next rousing cry from the right being, "Why should we support those millions of unwanted babies you bring into the world every year?"

Because they wont be happy just trapping women in unwanted pregnancy. That will never, ever be enough destruction to assuage their utter hatred for women. They won't be happy until every woman in America is under the thumb and the boot of some man who is free to brutalize her because she has no way of supporting her children other than allowing him to use her up and bleed her out.

That is what they mean when they talk about "traditional family" and "traditional values."

Never doubt it.