Mitt Romney is criss-crossing Florida Wednesday and Thursday, mostly for routine fundraisers. But one event Wednesday evening has caught the attention of activists on both sides of the abortion debate: a $50,000-a-plate dinner at the Miami home of a pharmaceutical executive whose company makes a kind of “morning-after pill.”
The pill, called Plan B One-Step, is produced by Teva Pharmaceuticals – and it is Teva’s chairman, Phil Frost, and his wife who are hosting the Romney fundraiser at their home on Miami’s exclusive Star Island. Anti-abortion activists sometimes refer to emergency contraception as “abortive pills,” a phrase Romney has used. Planned Parenthood says this characterization is false.
No matter. By all indications, the fundraiser is going ahead, in spite of criticism last week by the chairwoman of Concerned Women for America, Penny Nance. She told The Daily Caller that she would urge Romney to cancel the event “because it is dirty money.”
By Wednesday, there wasn’t much chatter in the conservative blogosphere about the fundraiser.
“The main thing would be whether he wiggled on any pro-life stances,” said an anti-abortion strategist, hinting at Romney’s past support for abortion rights. “Politicians do seem to be able to separate their politics from their fundraising ... as Obama hits up Wall Street while making them his favorite targets.”
It’s also worth noting that Teva is the largest maker of generic pharmaceuticals in the country, making it easy for Romney to overlook one drug that doesn’t fit his agenda.
But if his supporters were quiet Wednesday, Planned Parenthood was shouting from the rooftops.
“Mitt Romney can’t have it both ways,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, in a statement. “The record is clear: Mitt Romney has vowed to restrict access to birth control, including emergency contraception, and undermine millions of women's access to family planning.”
Romney stepped into the emotional birth-control debate earlier this year, when the Obama administration issued a rule requiring religiously affiliated institutions to include birth control in their employee health plans without co-pays. Romney considered the rule a violation of religious liberty. It was then that he called morning-after pills “abortive pills.”
Planned Parenthood also points out that in 2005, when Romney was governor of Massachusetts, he vetoed a bill that would have required hospitals to offer the morning-after pill to rape victims and required pharmacies to sell them without a prescription. Romney said the pills “cause abortions,” The Boston Globe reported. The Massachusetts legislature overrode his veto.
While in Florida this week, Romney is attending at least five fundraisers in Miami, Coral Gables, Boca Raton, Tampa, and Jacksonville, and expects to raise between $5 million and $8 million, according to CBS News in Miami.