The Republican presidential candidates Wednesday night, during a GOP debate in Arizona, took shots at President Barack Obama for his pro-choice history.
Newt Gingrich deflected a question about Obama's recent decision mandating that employers' insurance plans cover contraception by pointing out that Obama voted in favor of a law that protected abortion providers during his term as state senator of Illinois
"You did not once during the 2008 campaign ask why Barack Obama voted in favor of legalizing infanticide," Gingrich said. "If we're going to debate about who is the extremist on this issues, it is President Obama, who, as a state senator, voted to protect doctors who killed babies.
Mitt Romney lambasted Obama's new requirement that insurers of faith-based organizations who object to birth control must offer the coverage to those groups' employees for free.
"I don’t think we've seen in the history of this country the kind of attack on religious freedom we've seen in Barack Obama most recently requiring the Catholic Church to provide for its employees and its various enterprises health care insurance that would include birth control, sterilization and the morning after pill," he said. "He tried to retreat from that, but he retreated in a way that was not appropriate, because these insurance companies have to provide these same things, and now the Catholic Church will have to pay for them."
In fact, the Catholic Church is exempt from Obama's contraception mandate.
Santorum, asked about his previous comments on the "dangers of contraception," refused to engage in a discussion about birth control at all, going on a tangent instead about children born out of wedlock.
"What we're seeing is a problem in our culture with respect to children being raised by children, children being raised out of wedlock, and the impact on society economically with respect to drug use and all host of other things when children have children," Santorum said. "And so yes, I was talking about these very serious issues."
More on the Gingrich campaign:
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the debate was held on Tuesday; it was held on Wednesday.