Romney Didn’t Know What the Blunt Amendment Was

<a target="_blank" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/6182516709/sizes/m/in/photostream/">Flickr/Gage Skidmore</a>

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.


Say you’re Mitt Romney. You believe Obama has declared war on religion. As someone who is trying to be the John Connor of the resistance to the forces of free birth control, you could reasonably be expected to know what exactly, your party is doing to rescue Americans from the fresh Hell of preventive care and minimum essential health benefits. Yet when asked by a reporter, Romney seemed unaware of the two main legislative measures Republicans have deployed to prevent exempt employers and insurers from having to cover birth control. 

When asked about the amendment proposed by Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) this afternoon, as the Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent noted Romney told Ohio reporter Jim Heath that he was opposed to it. That was a mistake—one the Romney campaign is walking back by saying that Heath phrased the question improperly when he said that the Blunt Amendment “deals with allowing employers to ban providing female contraception.”

Heath referred to the Blunt-Rubio amendment, but there are actually two seperate amendments—Senator Marc Rubio (R-Fla.) proposed one that deals narrowly with birth control, while Blunt’s amendment, as I reported weeks ago, would allow employers to opt out of providing any benefits mandated by Health and Human Services as long as they have a “moral objection” to doing so. Rubio is also a co-sponsor on Blunt’s bill. Still, Heath’s summary was clear enough, and yet Romney said that he didn’t want to get “into questions about contraception within a relationship between a man and a woman.” The GOP line is that coverage for birth control is a matter of conscience, not what individuals do with their own bodies. Unfamiliar with the basic countours of the debate he was wading into, Romney gave what sounded like a suspiciously liberal answer.   

Democrats are accusing Romney of another characteristic flip-flop, but that’s not really what happened here—Romney has since made clear he supports the Blunt amendment. It’s not so much that Romney changed his mind—it’s that he had no idea what Republicans were doing to stem Obama’s free-love apocalypse. Now either this whole “war on religion” rhetoric is entirely overblown, or Romney just doesn’t care enough to be minimally conscious of what’s happening on the front lines. 

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.