In the latest ad titled “Be Not Afraid” by the Romney campaign, he goes after Barack Obama for “Declaring War on Religion.” The ad is right in the sense that Obama is in fact doing that via the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). There is no question and he should be called out on it. However, the presumptive GOP nominee is being a bit hypocritical, seeing that he did the exact same thing in the state of Massachusetts as governor.
The ad presents Obama’s war on religion veiled in his healthcare mandate, which is true. Then Romney refers to Pope John Paul II as taking down an empire with the words “Be not afraid.”
The the ad closes asking, “When religious freedom is threatened, who do you want to stand with?” Well, who do you want to stand with?
In 2007, The Tampa Bay Times did a fact check back in 2007 during the campaign when former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson brought up Romney and the healthcare issue:
“So what sort of services does Romney’s health care plan provide? Per the state Web site: $50 co-pay for abortions.”
While court mandate requires Massachusetts to cover ‘medically necessary’ abortions in state-subsidized health plans, Mitt Romney’s plan covers ALL abortions — no restrictions.
And it’s true.
One of the crowning moments of Mitt Romney’s tenure as governor of Massachusetts was the creation of Commonwealth Care, a state-run, state-subsidized health insurance program for people making up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level. Although private insurers provide the coverage, the state helps pay the bills and determines what services must be covered.
That list includes abortion. And the co-pay is indeed $50.
Romney has recently sought to distance himself from some details of the plan, but he has touted it in debates and interviews as a model for the nation.
National Review checked Thompson’s claims and wrote:
Romney’s campaign counters that the decision about what services to cover was ultimately left up to the independent Commonwealth Care Authority.
But Romney was well-represented: Of the six policy-making members of the authority’s 10-member board, half are appointed by the governor, and half by the state attorney general. Half of the ex-officio members also are appointed by the governor, including the chairman — the governor’s secretary of administration and finance — and the state insurance commission.
Although Romney shares responsibility with the state legislature and the program’s board, Commonwealth Care was his pet project, and he takes credit for it. We find Thompson’s claims true.
“I love it. It’s a fabulous program,” Romney said during a May 3, 2007, Republican debate. “Now I know there’s some people who wonder about it. Sen. Kennedy at the signing of the bill, we were all there together, he said, ‘You know, if you’ve got Mitt Romney and Ted Kennedy agreeing to the same bill, that means one thing — one of us didn’t read it.’
“But I helped write it. And I knew it well. …The market can work to solve our health care needs, and 27 other states are working on health care programs now. It’s a great program, a great opportunity for the entire country.”
The fact that Kennedy and Romney agreed on a health care bill with abortion in it and an individual mandate ought to make every true conservative perk up and pay attention. By the way, this is after his supposed conversion to being pro-life.
On January 19,2012 in a Republican debate Romney tried to distance himself from the abortion issue. Here’s how the exchange went:
GINGRICH: Governor Romney has said that he had an experience in a lab and became pro-life, and I accept that. After he became pro-life, RomneyCare does pay for tax-paid abortions. RomneyCare has written into it Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion provider in the country, by name.
ROMNEY: First, in RomneyCare, there’s no mention of abortion whatsoever. The Massachusetts Supreme Court decided that all times that there was any subsidy of health care in Massachusetts that one received abortion care. That was not done by the legislature; I would have vetoed such a thing. That was done by the courts. #2, it’s true, somewhere in that bill of ours, 70 pages, there’s the mention of the words “Planned Parenthood,” but it describes payment structures.
SANTORUM: You do not specifically mention that abortion is not covered. You can’t say: Oh, gee, surprise, the court made us cover abortions. He knew very well that the court would make him cover abortions.
Santorum is right here. Romney did know what the courts would do. Basically Romney is saying, “Don’t blame me, it’s the court’s fault. It seems incredibly disingenuous to say he would have vetoed the legislation on abortion. After all, it seems the people wanted it and he doesn’t want to deprive the people of what they want. At least that’s what he said in regards to homosexual “marriage” that he signed into law in Massachusetts. He didn’t veto that legislation, even though he could have and claims he was against it.
Romney was governor. If he didn’t think the courts were right on the issue he should have challenged it. It’s called separation of powers. The executive branch would keep the judicial branch in check.
On the eve of the Arizona primary former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich called Romney out on his own use of power to infringe on religious conscience under Romneycare:
Q: Speaker Gingrich has said during your tenure as governor, you required Catholic hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims. Did you?
ROMNEY: No, absolutely not. There was no requirement in Massachusetts for the Catholic Church to provide morning-after pills to rape victims. That was entirely voluntary on their part. Likewise, there’s a provision in Massachusetts General Law that says people don’t have to have coverage for contraceptives or other type of medical devices which are contrary to their religious teachings. Churches also don’t have to provide that.
GINGRICH: Well, the reports we got were quite clear that the public health department was prepared to give a waiver to Catholic hospitals about a morning-after abortion pill, and that the governor’s office issued explicit instructions saying that they believed it wasn’t possible under Massachusetts law. When you have government as the central provider of services, you inevitably move towards tyranny.
This is what the man’s record is. He is trying to say he is a contrast to Barack Obama. I’m trying to see where that contrast is. So far on homosexuality and health care they are very similar and Mitt has one up on Obama as he signed into law a redefining of what “marriage” is in Massachusetts. But to then come out with this ad, when he basically did the same thing in Massachusetts is just hypocritical. It isn’t as bad as Obama’s ad claiming Romney was responsible for a man’s wife, which was simply a lie, but it is hypocritical.
Finally, in case you might be wondering how this might actually play out with Supreme Court appointees, because everyone is always wondering about who will be appointed. Romney at the same debate earlier this year said that when he appointed judges in Massachusetts he did not use a litmus test of whether or not they were pro-life. Why? Look, if they will preside over issue of the Constitution and that Constitution was founded upon the Declaration of Independence which states emphatically that men have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then shouldn’t judges have a litmus test to see if they are in favor of the first of those rights? I think so. I think true conservatives think so. Just be aware that ideas have consequences and if Romney is going to compartmentalize things and not put his convictions into play in the political arena, then what good does that do anyone?