Obama defends HHS mandate: ‘not fair’ that Catholics won’t fund birth control
WASHINGTON, DC, July 10, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In a short interview Monday with Karen Swensen of New Orleans’ CBS affiliate WWLTV, President Barack Obama reiterated his support for the HHS birth control mandate, this time adding it’s “not fair” that a woman working for a Catholic institution should “bear the burden and the cost” of paying for her own contraception.
Swensen posed a question from WWLTV viewer Michael Varino, “What can you say about a healthcare bill that’ll mandate insurance companies to provide birth control, sterilization, etc. to employees of Catholic universities, hospitals and churches since this goes against the Catholic religion?”
Swensen prefaced the question by stating that Varino “describes himself as a Catholic voter,” and followed it by adding, “We know there is compromising language in place. Some say it doesn’t go far enough and that the real, the much bigger issue is religious liberty, not contraception.”
Obama responded, “Yeah. Well it’s absolutely true that religious liberty is critical. I mean that’s what our country was founded on.
“That’s the reason why we exempted churches, we exempted religious institutions,” the president said.
“But we did say that big Catholic hospitals or universities who employ a lot of non-Catholics and who receive a lot of federal money, that for them to be in a position to say to a woman who works there you can’t get that from your insurance company even though the institution isn’t paying for it, that that crosses the line where that woman, she suddenly is gonna have to bear the burden and the cost of that. And that’s not fair,” Obama stated.
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The birth control mandate, which would require all employers to cover the costs of contraception, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs, has incensed religious leaders across the spectrum.
Critics have pointed out that the mandate’s “religious employer” exemption is limited only to institutions serving primarily members of their own sect, a definition experts called dramatically narrower than any other in the history of federal conscience laws.
“Jesus himself, or the Good Samaritan of his famous parable, would not qualify as ‘religious enough’ for the exemption, since they insisted on helping people who did not share their view of God,” Cardinal Daniel Dinardo famously said in a Sept 26 statement. “The ‘religious employer’ exemption offered by the Department is so extremely narrow that it protects almost no one.”
Already Steubenville University in Ohio has announced that it will have to stop offering health insurance because of the HHS mandate, while dozens of other Catholic organizations have filed suit against the mandate.
Watch the video of the interview here.