Santorum: Obamacare Reg Shows 'Contempt This President Has for People of Faith'

By Fred Lucas | October 10, 2011 | 2:58pm EDT

(CNSNews.com) – GOP presidential contender Rick Santorum denounced the Obama administration’s proposed regulation to require all health insurance plans to cover sterilization and contraceptives, including drugs that cause abortions, with a narrowly drawn religious exemption that would not include most Catholic charities or hospitals.

“This is an assault on the First Amendment,” Santorum, a former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, told CNSNews.com.

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“What the president has done with this regulation to require all but churches proper to provide for abortion is counter to everything the Obama administration said was in the Obamacare bill,” Santorum said. “It is a direct assault on people’s First Amendment rights. It puts the sexual liberties of a few people above the moral and religious views of a broad swath of society. And it shows how much contempt this president has for people of faith.”

Santorum responded to the rule just a few days after President Barack Obama boasted about the requirement at a Democratic fundraiser in St. Louis.

The Department of Health and Human Services proposed the regulation and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called it an “unprecedented attack on religious liberty.”

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

The proposed rule is part of implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. It would require all private health plans in the United States to cover sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives -- including those that cause abortions -- without charging any fees or co-pay. These regulations were drawn to implement a provision in Obamacare that calls for all health-care plans to cover “preventive services.”

This, along with Obamacare’s mandate that all individuals purchase health insurance, would mean that all American Catholics would be required to buy health care plans that pay for sterilizations, contraceptives and abortions, all of which violates Catholic moral teaching.

A “religious exemption” in the regulation is so narrowly drawn that it does not include lay Catholic groups, Catholic hospitals, charitable organizations, or colleges or universities.

Thus, many major Catholic institutions in the United States would be forced to choose between dropping health insurance coverage for their employees and students or violating the moral teachings of their own church. (See earlier story.)

At an Oct. 4 Democratic National Committee fundraiser at the Renaissance Hotel in St. Louis, Obama said, “And, yes, we passed health care reform because no one in America should go bankrupt because somebody in their family gets sick. Insurance companies can’t drop your coverage for no good reason. They won’t be able to deny your coverage because of preexisting conditions. Think about what that means for families all across America.  Think about what it means for women.”

An audience member shouted: “Birth control.”

“Absolutely. You’re stealing my line,” the president responded. “Breast cancer, cervical cancer, are no longer preexisting conditions. No longer can insurance companies discriminate against women just because you guys are the ones who have to give birth.”

At this point, a member of a laughing audience shouted, “Darn right!”

Obama responded, “Darn tooting! They have to cover things like mammograms and contraception as preventive care, no more out-of-pocket costs.”

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