Rachel Maddow Falsely Claims Santorum Wants States to be Able to Ban Contraception

To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, there she goes again.

On Sunday's Meet the Press, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow falsely claimed, "Rick Santorum says that he would like states to be able to make contraception illegal' (video follows with transcript and commentary):

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: The, the, the idea that, that, that the Catholic Church is being forced to do something that as a church it does not want to do is a misnomer. The initial exception in here is that the Catholic Church that--somebody that is providing the service of being a church, that's operating from the church, they're already exempt from this. The question is, as the congressman says, when you want to become a health insurance provider you must follow the rules of providing health insurance. And in this country, that means that you have to cover contraception, and 80 percent of Americans agree with that.

ALEX CASTELLANOS, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: This is--this...

MADDOW: This fits into--you guys want to make this only about religion, but listen, Mitt Romney is campaigning...

CASTELLANOS: No, it is--no, the administration made this only about religion.

MADDOW: ...Mitt Romney is campaigning saying that he would like to end--he...

CASTELLANOS: Ask the bishops.

MADDOW: ...he would like to end all family planning support at the federal level. He would like to eliminate federal--Title 10. Rick Santorum says that he would like states to be able to make contraception illegal. You can try to make this an issue of, oh, Democrats hate religion, but the fact is churches were exempt from this from the beginning, this is about providing health insurance. And the Republican Party is...

DAVID GREGORY, HOST: Let me...

MADDOW: ...waging war on contraception at this point in a way that the--where the--and that's where the discussion is going.

Is this even close to true? Not according to the Washington Post's Melinda Henneberger who interviewed Santorum on January 6 about this very subject:

“I was asked if I believed in it, and I said, ‘No, I’m a Catholic, and I don’t.’ I don’t want the government to fund it through Planned Parenthood, but that’s different than wanting to ban it; the idea I’m coming after your birth control is absurd. I was making a statement about my moral beliefs, but I won’t impose them on anyone else in this case. I don’t think the government should be involved in that. People are free to make their own decisions.’’

The former Pennsylvania senator recently told ABC’s Jake Tapper that, yes, he disagrees with Griswold v. Connecticut, the 1965 Supreme Court decision that struck down a ban on contraception.

He said Friday evening that it’s the idea that states don’t have a right to pass such a law that he opposes, because he does not see the right to privacy as a constitutional right envisioned by its signers. This is hardly a new argument.

“It could have been a law against buying shoestrings; that it was contraception has nothing to do with it. States have the right to pass even dumb laws.”

To be clear, he does think that laws banning birth control would be dumb “for a number of reasons. Birth control should be legal in the United States. The states should not ban it, and I would oppose any effort to ban it.’’


That bears repeating: "Birth control should be legal in the United States. The states should not ban it, and I would oppose any effort to ban it."

Seem pretty clear to you? Wouldn't it be nice if people like Maddow would tell the truth when they're on national television, or is that asking too much?

(H/T NB reader zenman1661)

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Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.