Foster Friess: In my day, women "used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives"

Santorum backer Foster Friess on MSNBC. MSNBC

 

Updated 8:05 p.m. ET

Foster Friess, a prominent backer of Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, raised eyebrows Thursday when he offered up his own idea for a possible contraceptive method: "This contraceptive thing, my gosh, it's so... inexpensive. Back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives."

Friess's implication is that if women hold aspirin between their legs, they won't open them.

"The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn't that costly," he told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell.

Mitchell was visibly taken aback by the suggestion.

"Excuse me, I'm just trying to catch my breath from that, Mr. Friess, frankly," she said, after a pause.

Following the remark, the president of the National Organization of Women, Terry O'Neill, said Santorum and Friess should both "apologize."

In an interview with Talking Points Memo, O'Neill said Friess' comments were "deeply offensive" and that "[Santorum] should clearly apologize to the women of this country." She added that "Mr. Friess should apologize" as well.

Friess was a major contributor to Santorum's campaign in the days before his victories in the early nominating states made him a serious contender for the nomination. According to Federal Election Commission filings, Friess gave the Red, White and Blue Fund, a pro-Santorum super PAC, $331,000 in 2011. It's not yet publicly known how much Friess has contributed to the super PAC in 2012 so far.

Santorum has said in the past that he is "not a believer in birth control" and believes it is "harmful" to both women and society. And in October, Santorum discussed the "dangers" of contraception with an evangelical blog.

"Many in the Christian faith have said, 'Well, that's okay. Contraception's okay," he said. "It's not okay because it's a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They're supposed to be within marriage, they are supposed to be for purposes that are, yes, conjugal, but also [inaudible], but also procreative. That's the perfect way that a sexual union should happen."

In a Tweet following the interview, Mitchell continued to express her disbelief over Friess' comment.

"Im still trying to get my head around this," she wrote on Twitter. "Tweeps what should i have said?"

Leigh Ann Caldwell contributed to this report.

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