GOP challenger Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee are out with a new television ad Thursday using President Obama’s move to require most employers to cover the cost of contraception to draw another line in the sand between the two candidates.
“President Obama used his health care plan to declare war on religion, forcing religious institutions to go against their faith,” the narrator says in the ad, titled “Be Not Afraid.”
A federal law originally mandated that most employers, including those that are faith-based, cover the costs of contraception. Churches were exempted, but not many hospitals, charities, schools and other institutions run by religious groups. After an uproar from some in the religious community, in particular U.S. Catholic bishops, the administration later shifted the cost to insurance companies.
“[I]n 1979, a son of Poland, Pope John Paul II, spoke words that would bring down an empire …’Be not afraid,’” the ad continues, highlighting the support for Mr. Romney from former Polish President Lech Walesa, who helped lead the Solidarity union movement when the country was fighting against communist control in the 1980s.
“When religious freedom is threatened, who do you want to stand with?” the ad concludes.
The ad comes on the heels of Mr. Romney’s overseas trip, during which he met with Mr. Walesa, and could mark an overture to both Polish-American and Catholic voters.
Mr. Obama’s campaign responded by saying that the president believes women should have free contraception as part of their health insurance, and has done so without infringing upon groups’ religious liberties.
“Mitt Romney apparently disagrees with this approach, and it’s no surprise why,” said campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith. “He has pledged to ‘get rid of’ of federal funding for Planned Parenthood and would take women’s health back to the 1950’s. Women can’t afford his extreme policies.”