Boston, Mass., Aug 9, 2012 / 01:50 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The campaign of presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has released an ad accusing President Obama of declaring “war on religion” by supporting the controversial HHS mandate.
“President Obama used his healthcare plan to declare war on religion, forcing religious institutions to go against their faith,” the ad says.
“Mitt Romney believes that’s wrong,” it states.
The ad, titled “Be Not Afraid,” draws on a Feb. 1 column by Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson to say that President Obama has declared war on religion.
It also features Romney’s footage from his recent Poland trip and touts his endorsement by Polish Solidarity leader Lech Walesa.
On July 31 in Warsaw, Romney cited Pope John Paul II’s words “Be not afraid.” He said those words “would bring down an empire and bring freedom to millions who lived in bondage.”
The ad says “When religious freedom is threatened, who do you want to stand with?”
The Romney campaign released the ad with the Republican National Committee.
The Department of Health and Human Services, using powers granted by the 2010 health care legislation, has mandated that most employers cover sterilization and contraception, including some abortion-causing drugs, as “preventive care” for women.
The mandate’s narrow religious exemption does not cover many Catholic charities, health care systems and universities. The Obama administration has proposed an accommodation but its details are still unclear. Catholic leaders and others have demanded a broader exemption for religious employers and for secular businesses.
Backers of the mandate have accused opponents of waging a “war on women” in an effort to appeal to women voters in swing states.
The Romney campaign’s release of the ad comes after President Barack Obama in an Aug. 8 campaign speech in Denver reiterated his support for the controversial mandate.