Democrats moved Saturday to make contraception an issue in the 2012 election by releasing a video attack-ad that portrays opposition to the White House’s proposed regulation of churches as a GOP-led effort to deny free contraception to all women.
The ad shows President Barack Obama speaking on Feb. 10 saying that his revised church regulation would ensure “the insurance company, not the [church-run] hospital, not the charity, will be required to reach out and offer the woman contraceptive care free of charge, without copays, and without hassles.”
The Democratic National Committee ad next shows a stark message on a black screen: “The Republicans want to take that right away … who do you think think should make decisions about contraception? You or your employer?”
The ad likely seeks to spur support for Obama among unmarried women. They lean Democratic, partly because of the Democrats’ support for federal aid. In contrast, married women lean Republican, partly because of Republican aid and applause for families.
The same message showed up on Obama’s campaign website, where a Feb. 10 headline described Obama’s Feb. 10 message as “Moving Forward with Contraceptive Coverage.”
The 70-second attack-ad came the day after a variety of religious groups decried Obama’s Feb. 10 announcement that he would require insurance companies to provide free contraceptive services and abortion-related drugs to the religious groups’ employees.
The announcement was a symbolic side-step by Obama around his controversial Jan. 20 regulation.
The regulation — which is based on the 2010 Obamacare health-sector law — said religious congregations would be fined by the state if they did not use their own money to buy services and drugs they abhor. Smaller churches that employ their own believers could be exempted from the requirement, after a federal review, the regulation said.
The new attack-ad marks a White House effort to exploit the resulting controversy.
The opposition to the regulation came from Catholic, evangelical, Baptist and Jewish denominations, civil-liberties groups, establishment media, plus most Republicans and some Democratic legislators. A Rasmussen poll, for example, showed that 65 percent of Catholics opposed Obama’s insurance directive to religious groups. That number matters because it could indicate much lower election-day support for Obama among Midwestern white Catholics and Southern Hispanic Catholics and evangelicals.
Under the Feb. 10 sidestep, Obama simply declared that the cost of the birth-control services would be zero, so religious groups would not have to pay for the services their insurance company would have to provide to their employees.
Many progressive organizations lauded the president’s semantics.