Fox News' fabricated claim that President Obama is waging a "war on religion" by mandating that health insurance providers cover women's reproductive health care today became the central focus of Mitt Romney's campaign when the GOP presidential candidate released an ad adopting the talking point.
In January, the Obama administration announced that nonprofit employers, including those connected to religious organizations, would be required to provide health insurance coverage for "preventive services for women including recommended contraceptive services without charging a co-pay, co-insurance or a deductible." Those preventative services included, as reported by CBS News:
- Well-woman visits, including an annual check-up for adult women to get recommended preventive services, and additional visits if women and their doctors determine them necessary.
- Gestational diabetes screening for women 24 to 28 weeks pregnant, and those at high risk of developing gestational diabetes.
- Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling for pregnant and postpartum women, including access to comprehensive lactation support and counseling from trained providers, as well as breastfeeding equipment.
After the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops registered their opposition to the rule over the contraception requirement, Fox accused the administration of waging a "war on religion" -- this despite the fact that contemporaneous polling showed majority Catholic support for contraceptive coverage.
In February, Obama announced a shift in the rule allowing insurance companies to directly offer contraception coverage to employees whose employers have religious objections. The accommodation was met with support from Catholic and other religious institutions. Nonetheless, Fox continued their efforts to portray Obama as waging a "war on religion."
After weeks of attacking President Barack Obama's economic record, Mitt Romney took a sharply different tack Thursday in his latest television ad, going after the president for policies the Republican challenger amounts to a "war on religion."
In the spot, which also features footage from Romney's trip in July to Poland, an announcer says Obama's heath care law forces religious institutions to "go against their faith."
"Who shares your values?" the announcer asks. "President Obama used his healthcare plan to declare war on religion, forcing religious institutions to go against their faith. Mitt Romney believes that's wrong."
In a press release that accompanied the ad, the campaign justifies the "war on religion" claim using an editorial published in the San Antonio Express News in February, as a political firestorm waged over a controversial federal rule requiring employers cover contraception in their health insurance plans.
If past is prologue, we can expect to soon see Fox reporting extensively on Romney's "war on religion" ad.