Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney told a reporter that he would not support the Blunt amendment, which would give employers and insurers the power to deny health coverage that they found morally objectionable, according to The Washington Post.
Replying to a question by ONN-TV’s Jim Heath about whether he supported the amendment, Romney said, “I’m not for the bill. But, look, the idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception within a relationship between a man and a woman, husband and wife, I’m not going there.”
The Huffington Post noted that this statement marks a departure from earlier this week when Romney said, "I don't think we've seen in the history of this country the kind of attack on religious conscience, religious freedom, religious tolerance that we've seen under Barack Obama. Most recently, of course, requiring the Catholic Church to provide for its employees and its various enterprises health care insurance that would include birth control, sterilization and the morning-after pill. Unbelievable."
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Romney has been struggling to appeal to social conservatives, with the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll from Feb. 28, showing his favorability at 38 percent among Americans who consider themselves “very” conservative, 14 points lower than the previous week.
Rival candidate Rick Santorum called Romney a “lightweight on conservative accomplishments,” yesterday, according to ABC News. Santorum has been very vocal in his opposition to key social conservative issues, ranging from abortion and birth control to gay marriage, earning him backing from evangelical and socially conservative voters.
Romney, meanwhile, said, “You know, I’m not willing to light my hair on fire to try and get support,” while voters went to the polls in Michigan yesterday, reported The Post.
The Senate is scheduled to vote on Thursday on the “conscience exemption” provision, attached by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), which would allow employers to deny coverage for services that “violate their religious or moral convictions,” in direct opposition to the Obama administration’s mandate that requires health plans to provide birth control, reported The Wall Street Journal.
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