Skip to main content

Romney makes money on the birth control he opposes

In recent days, Mitt Romney has been on the presidential trail bashing the Obama administration’s requirement that all employers and insurers provide contraception and other reproductive health care services. On Monday, Romney took it a step further and accused President Obama of tramping on religious freedom.

There are several issues with Romney's extreme new stance on birth control, as well as his cries of religious persecution by the Obama administration.

First, Romney conveniently leaves out a few important facts about the law. As Mother Jones reported earlier this week:

Institutions with a primarily religious mission are exempted from the law. No doctors will be required to provide birth control. No one who believes that birth control is a sin be required to use it. The law is designed to ensure that access to preventative care is not denied to women who want or need it.

Second, Romney continues to incorrectly call Plan B, also known as the Morning After Pill, an "abortive pill."

Although anti-abortion groups might claim that the pill is "abortive," medical science does not back up that claim. Plan B is a heavy dose of the type of hormones in regular-old-birth-control. It is designed to either prevent ovulation or to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in a woman's uterus (depending on where the woman is in her menstrual cycle). Medical organizations like the National Institutes of Health and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have clearly affirmed that pregnancy does not begin until a fertilized egg is implanted. Plan B thus cannot be an "abortive pill" as Romney and others claim.

As the Boston Globe reminded everyone last week, in 2005 Gov. Romney required all hospitals in the state—even Catholic hospitals—to provide emergency contraception to victims of rape.

Finally, and most interesingly, a recent examination of Romney's financial records by ThinkProgress has revealed that he has made significant amounts of money investing in pharmaceutical companies that produce the very birth control pills he currently wants to restrict.

Romney’s Goldman Sachs 2002 Exchange Place Fund, valued at over a million dollars in 2010, brought in nearly $600,000 in gains in 2010 and is invested in:

Watson Pharmaceuticals: manufacturer of nine forms of emergency contraception (which Romney incorrectly identifies as “abortifacients“).

Johnson & Johnson: launched the first U.S. prescription birth control product in 1931 and produces various forms of birth control.

Merck: produces various forms of birth control

Mylan: produces birth control medication and filed the first application for a generic birth control pill last year.

Pfizer: a contraception producer that recently had to recall about a million packs of birth-control pills that weren’t packaged correctly.

So while Romney travels the country advocating the restriction of women's access to responsible and common birth control, he is stuffing his pockets with the profits from their production. This is a new low, even for Romney, who continues to demonstrate that he will say and do anything to pander to the religious far-right to secure the GOP nomation.