Republican presidential candidate Gov. Chris Christie confirmed that he has used birth control on Tuesday during a campaign stop in New Hampshire.
“I’m a Catholic but I’ve used birth control — and not just the rhythm method,” Christie told attendees at a “Tell It Like It Is” town hall at Blake’s Restaurant & Creamery in Manchester. “My church has a teaching against birth control,” he added. “Does that make me an awful Catholic, because I believe and practiced that function during part of my life? I don’t think so.”
As a blue-state governor Christie has had to walk a fine line on abortion rights, but since he became a 2016 candidate he has hardened his stance. In March, Christie backed a 20-week abortion ban in New Jersey, and declared “I am proud to be a pro-life Republican. I believe that every life is an individual gift from God and no life is disposable.”
Christie’s personal revelation puts him in stark contrast with his GOP rival and fellow Catholic former senator Rick Santorum, who divulged during his presidential campaign in 2012 that he does not use birth control.
“My personal position is well known, obviously well known,” he said at the time. “As a Catholic – and I do my best to be a faithful Catholic – my wife and I we don’t believe or practice birth control as an article of faith of our church.”
Still, despite his professed fidelity to his faith, Santorum has publicly criticized Pope Francis’ stance on climate change.
Meanwhile, the comments from Christie on Tuesday were a far cry from his more opaque initial remarks following the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision which determined that some employers could decline to offer birth control coverage in health plans for religious reasons.
“Why should I give an opinion as to whether they were right or wrong? At the end of the day [the Supreme Court] did what they did,” Christie said. He later affirmed his support for the decision during a visit to Iowa.