Jeb Slaps Hillary Over Her Comment That Religious Beliefs ‘Have to Be Changed’

By Patrick Goodenough | June 16, 2015 | 4:11am EDT
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with his wife Columba, center, and other family members, after announcing his bid for the Republican presidential nomination on Monday, June 15, 2015, at Miami Dade College in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

( – Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush launched his 2016 presidential bid Monday with a swipe at Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s stated views on the clash between reproductive rights and religious beliefs. He also took a dig at Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate.

“These have been rough years for religious charities and their right of conscience,” Bush said in his announcement speech at Miami Dade College in Miami, Fla. “And the leading Democratic candidate recently hinted of more trouble to come.”

“Secretary Clinton insists that when the progressive agenda encounters religious beliefs to the contrary, those beliefs, quote, ‘have to be changed.’ That’s what she said. That’s what she said, and I guess we should at least thank her for the warning.”

Bush, a practicing Roman Catholic, then took aim at the administration’s regulation requiring most insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act to pay for sterilization, contraceptives and abortifacients.

“The most galling example is the shabby treatment of the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Christian charity that dared to voice objections of conscience to Obamacare,” he went on.

“The next president needs to make it clear that great charities like the Little Sisters of the Poor need no federal instruction in doing the right thing. It comes down to a choice between the Little Sisters and Big Brother, and I’m going with the Sisters.”

Bush’s Clinton quote came from a speech she delivered last April 23 at the annual Women in the World summit in New York City, where her line about cultural and religious beliefs won enthusiastic applause.

Clinton told that event that “far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth. All the laws we’ve passed don’t count for much if they’re not enforced.”

“Rights have to exist in practice – not just on paper,” she continued. “Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

Bush’s Obamacare reference dealt with an order of Catholic nuns that resisted the contraceptive mandate.

The Supreme Court ruled in January 2014 that the Little Sisters of the Poor does not have to comply with the mandate, pending their appeal at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral argument in the appeal was heard in Denver, Colo. last December.

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