In the war on women, the next battlefield has been set.
Days after the Obama campaign released an ad criticizing Romney for wanting to cut Planned Parenthood funding and being "really out of touch with the average woman's health issues," Romney's campaign released an ad today that accuses the president of using his health care law to wage a "war on religion."
"President Obama used his health care plan to declare war on religion, forcing religious institutions to go against their faith," says the narrator in the 30-second spot released online Thursday. "Mitt Romney believes that's wrong."
The ad then shows a clip of Romney speaking in Poland, where former President Lech Walesa endorsed the GOP candidate.
"In 1979, a son of Poland, Pope John Paul II, spoke words that would bring down an empire. ... Be not afraid'..." Romney says before the narrator cuts back in to ask, "When religious freedom is threatened, who do you want to stand with?"
The day before this health care-centered ad came out, Romney's campaign criticized his rival for shifting the focus away from the economy with Obama's renewed attention on women's health issues.
"Hundreds of thousands of women have lost their jobs, poverty among women is highest in nearly two decades, and half of recent graduates can't find a good job," Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said. "Middle-class families have struggled in the Obama economy, and Mitt Romney has a plan to strengthen the middle class and get our country back on the right track."
Obama is on a two-day swing through Colorado, touting the women's health provisions in his health care law. While provisions such co-pay-free mammograms and STD testing have been fairly uncontroversial, the law's mandate that health insurance carriers cover birth control at no cost has many Republicans and religious organizations up in arms.
"Mr. Romney's running as the candidate of conservative values. There's nothing conservative about a government that prevents a woman from making her own health care decisions," Obama said Wednesday in Denver.
At his Denver rally, the president appeared for the first time with Sandra Fluke, who has become the Democratic face of the contraception debate after conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh called her a "slut" by for testifying in support of co-pay-free contraception.
While Obama and Fluke touted the president's women's health protections on the trail, his campaign came out with an ad that had actress Elizabeth Banks endorsing Obama because he has "not compromised on women's rights" while Romney wants to cut funding for Planned Parenthood.
While Limbaugh did not mention the latest Romney ad or Obama's recent focus on women's health issues during his radio show Thursday, he levied some stinging criticism during his show on Wednesday, comparing Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America to "death squads."
"If they're not death squads, I don't know what is," Limbaugh said.