Birth Control Is a Woman's 'Right,' Dems Say; It's Not About Birth Control, GOP Counters

February 13, 2012 - 8:07 AM
Sebelius-Obama

President Barack Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius leave the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb., 10, 2012, after the president restated his contraception policy requiring religious institutions to fully pay for birth control. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

(CNSNews.com) - In an effort to frame the argument as one about birth control, Democrats released a new Web video over the weekend describing birth control as a woman's "right" that Republicans want to take away.

But Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said it's not about birth control at all: "This is about freedom of religion," McConnell told CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

"President Obama has set a standard that every woman has the right to contraception coverage at no additional cost," says the video released by the Democratic National Committee on Sunday. "He has done so in a way that respects religious freedoms."

On Friday, President Obama said religious-affiliated institutions that have moral objections to contraception, including drugs that cause abortion, do not have to provide contraception coverage directly. Instead, "the insurance company...will be required to reach out and offer the woman contraceptive care free of charge -- without copays and without hassles."

"Republicans want to take that right away," says the DNC video. "Who do you think should make decisions about contraception? You or your employer?"

As CNSNews.com reported, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops rejected President Obama statement on Friday -- first, because Obama decided to retain the nationwide contraception mandate; and secondly, because changes in how the mandate will be administered are "still unclear."

Republicans leaders, meanwhile, are blasting the president for putting ideology ahead of the Constitution:

"The fact that the White House thinks this is about contraception is the whole problem. This is about freedom of religion. It's right there in the First Amendment, you can't miss it," Sen.  Mitch McConnell told "Face the Nation" on Sunday. "And the government doesn't get to decide for religious people what their religious beliefs are. They (the people) get to decide that."

McConnell noted that the compromise Obama announced on Friday is unacceptable to many religious leaders and people of faith -- and not just Catholics.

"This underscores just one of the constitutional problems with Obamacare," McConnell said. "This is what happens when the government tries to take over health care and tries to interfere with your religious beliefs."

McConnell said Republicans on Monday will file a friend-of-the-court brief in the Obamacare litigation that is now before the U.S. Supreme Court. And McConnell is backing a bill introduced by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) that would exempt any organization with moral objections from providing birth control, even though he admitted such a bill is sure to be vetoed by President Obama.