FAIRFAX, Virginia, October 9, 2012 ( – President Barack Obama told an audience of campaign supporters at George Mason University last Friday that free contraceptives for college students was the reason “why we passed” his healthcare reform law.

Citing the ‘preventive services’ mandate that requires healthcare plans to provide sterilization, contraception and abortion-inducing drugs to women free of charge, Obama said, “I don’t think a college student in Fairfax or Charlottesville should have to choose between text books or the preventive care that she needs. That’s why we passed this law. And I am proud of it. It was the right thing to do. And we are going to keep it.”

Obama stressed the role of contraception in balancing the ObamaCare budget, saying, “It’s good for our health care system in general because we know the overall cost of care is lower when women have access to contraceptive services.” 

According to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, whose office issued the birth control mandate, the expected reduction in the number of pregnancies will compensate for the increased cost to insurance companies for the free contraception.



Obama also claimed the health benefits of the birth control mandate extend beyond the prevention of pregnancy. “Doctors prescribe [the pill], not only for family planning but as a way to reduce the risk of ovarian and other cancers,” he said. While long-term oral contraceptive use has been linked to somewhat reduced occurrences of ovarian cancer, it has also been linked to significant increases in the risk of cervical, liver and breast cancers. The birth control pill has been categorized as a Group 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization (WHO), alongside other toxic substances such as asbestos, mustard gas, and tobacco.

Obama attacked his opponent in the U.S. Presidential race, Mitt Romney, for supporting the Catholic Church and other conscientious objectors to the preventive services mandate, who argue that it violates their freedom of religion to force faithful employers to pay for procedures they believe are intrinsically immoral. Many Catholics have demanded a “conscience clause” to allow employers to follow their religious convictions and refuse to pay for sterilizations and contraceptives.  However, with President Obama’s support, HHS Secretary Sebelius has vigorously opposed any kind of opt-out.

“Let me tell you something, Virginia,” Obama said, “I don’t think your boss should control the care you get. I don’t think insurance companies should control the care you get. I definitely don’t think politicians on Capitol Hill should control the care you get. We’ve seen some of their attitudes, we’ve read about those.” 

“I think there is one person who gets to make decisions about your health care,” said Obama, “that’s you.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a statement earlier this year, “This is not about access to contraception, which is ubiquitous and inexpensive, even when it is not provided by the Church’s hand and with the Church’s funds. This is not about the religious freedom of Catholics only, but also of those who recognize that their cherished beliefs may be next on the block. This is not about the Bishops somehow ‘banning contraception,’ when the U.S. Supreme Court took that issue off the table two generations ago. Indeed, this is not about the Church wanting to force anybody to do anything; it is instead about the federal government forcing the Church—consisting of its faithful and all but a few of its institutions—to act against Church teachings.”

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