New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, discussing the crossroads of religion and politics at a campaign stop Tuesday in New Hampshire, said he’s used birth control and isn’t about to apologize for it.
“I’m a Catholic, but I’ve used birth control and not just the rhythm method, okay?” said Christie, a Republican presidential candidate. “Does that make me an awful Catholic because I believed and practiced that function during part of my life? I don’t think so, but you know what -- I’m only going to find out when it’s my time to be judged.”
Christie, a father of four, waded into a touchy social issue for Republicans at the same time the party’s opposition to abortion has flared up in the campaign. Opponents say their crusade to defund Planned Parenthood, which offers abortions as well as reproductive health care and contraceptives, would result in more terminated pregnancies. Democrats have accused the party of waging an ideological war on women.
During two days in New Hampshire, the state with the first primary election, Christie has attempted to make inroads with the party’s base and reassure skeptical social conservatives that his reputation as a moderate is overstated. His comments about birth control came in response to a question during a town hall meeting at Blake’s Restaurant & Creamery in Manchester.
The night before, Christie was among all but three of the party’s 17 hopefuls who took part in a candidate’s forum at St. Anselm College. Christie began the session by saying he expects to be among the 10 candidates participating in the party’s first sanctioned debate on Aug. 6.
Christie said last week that as president he would end funding of Planned Parenthood, echoing other Republicans after the release of videos showing the group’s leaders discussing the cost of aborted fetal tissue for medical research.
In Iowa over the weekend, one man started a question about the videos by wrongly asking Christie if it offended his pro-choice beliefs. The governor pointed out that he was opposed to abortion.