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Mitt Romney: No Moderate When It Comes to Birth Control

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In light of recent events on the presidential campaign trail, I'd like to reintroduce former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to a politician for whom attacking contraception is an all-too usual topic—his name is Mitt Romney.

Gov. Romney, who has taken a commanding lead in polls, seemed flabbergasted to be asked a question at Saturday's GOP presidential debate about the right to contraception. He called it "an unusual topic," and said that he "can't imagine a state banning contraception."

An unusual topic? I wish I could say it was. Even though 98 percent of American women use birth control at some point in their lives, attacking the right to contraception has become anything but unusual for anti-choice politicians, including Romney.

Let's take a moment to review the facts. As governor, Romney vetoed a bill giving rape survivors information about and timely access to emergency contraception. Fortunately, the Massachusetts state legislature voted to override Romney's veto.

Romney also recently proposed eliminating Title X, the federal family-planning program that provides millions of Americans with contraception and other basic care.

Gov. Romney even voiced his support for a state constitutional amendment that would not only outlaw abortion—including for survivors of rape or incest—but that could also ban many common forms of birth control.

(After voters in Mississippi rejected such an amendment, Romney tried to pretend he hadn't taken such an extreme and outrageous position just a month earlier.)

If this weren't evidence enough of his hostility to birth control, Romney also selected Robert Bork to serve as the top judicial adviser to his campaign.

Robert Bork is most known as the far-right judge who was rejected by a bipartisan majority of senators from serving on the U.S. Supreme Court because of his extreme views against civil rights, equal protection for women under the Constitution, a woman's right to choose, and even the right to use birth control.

You get the picture: when it comes to women's right to birth control, Gov. Romney is far outside the American mainstream. Unfortunately, many anti-choice politicians throughout the nation share his misguided priorities.

NPR and The New York Times have reported on how—possibly for the first time in decades—opposition to birth control has become an acceptable position for candidates in the Republican primaries.

And it's not limited to politicians at the national level: last summer, New Hampshire's Executive Council voted to reject a contract with Planned Parenthood, forcing the state's six clinics to stop providing birth control.

One New Hampshire councilor, Raymond Wieczorek, summed up his thoughts on women who use contraception: "If they want to have a good time, why not let them pay for it?"

Fortunately, New Hampshire has a pro-choice senator, Jeanne Shaheen, who worked with the Obama administration to secure federal funding to keep the health centers open.

And when states from Indiana to Texas tried to limit low-income women's access to birth control, the Obama administration said, "Not so fast."

President Obama's landmark health-care law also makes no-cost birth control possible for most American women. (One in three women currently struggles with the high cost of birth control.)

Gov. Romney says the health-care law—including the no-cost birth-control policy—"must be repealed."

Maybe Gov. Romney "can't imagine a state banning contraception." But he should know that his own positions would put birth control out of reach for millions of American women.

No, birth control is not "an unusual topic." Women's right to contraception is very much at stake in this election—and that's because anti-choice politicians like Romney have made a point of attacking it.

Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America, www.ProChoiceAmerica.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

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