It’s no surprise that Rick Santorum, who returned to Texas this week to campaign with pastors at a McKinney church near Dallas, is opposed to a federal requirement that employer health insurance plans cover contraception. But the Republican presidential candidate went even further on Friday:
“This has nothing to do with access. This is having someone pay for it, pay for something that shouldn’t even be in an insurance plan anyway because it is not, really an insurable item. This is something that is affordable, available. You don’t need insurance for these types of relatively small expenditures. This is simply someone trying to impose their values on somebody else, with the arm of the government doing so. That should offend everybody, people of faith and no faith that the government could get on a roll that is that aggressive.”
Let’s leave aside for now the issue of who is trying to impose their values on whom here. What really startled us was Santorum’s claim that contraception shouldn’t be covered by any insurance because people can afford it on their own.
The cost of contraception varies by method and insurance coverage, of course. But birth control pills cost from about $160 to $600 a year. Maybe that’s affordable for people in Santorum’s income bracket, but many low- and middle-income families might find it difficult to squeeze that expense into their tight budgets.
Of course, Santorum thinks government should be able to ban contraception anyway. We imagine that pleases the religious-right leaders who endorsed Santorum at their emergency summit meeting in Texas last month.