Obama Recalls His Work for Catholic Church: ‘Every Human Being, Made in the Image of God, Deserves to Live in Dignity’

By Terence P. Jeffrey | June 10, 2015 | 11:19 AM EDT

Ultrasound of a human being (Wikimedia Commons)

(CNSNews.com) - Speaking at the Catholic Health Association Conference in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, President Barack Obama recalled that his first job in Chicago was with the Catholic Church and that in this job he saw that “every human being, made in the image of God, deserves to live in dignity.”

The president also said that "all children...ought to have the opportunity to achieve their God-given potential."

Obama’s speech largely focused on his signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act--AKA Obmacare.

Obmacare provides taxpayer subsidies to health insurance plans that cover surgical abortions. Through a “preventive services” regulation the administration issued under the ACA, it also mandates that most health insurance plans must cover contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs and IUDs.

The Catholic Church teaches that artificial contraception, sterilization and the deliberate taking of innocent life, including through pharmaceutical and surgical abortions, are morally wrong. By forcing Catholics to purchase or provide health insurance plans that cover these things, the administration is forcing Catholics, and other Americans who share Catholic views on these matters, to act against their faith and their consciences.

The Obamacare mandate that insurance plans must cover abortion-inducing drugs and IUDs has become the focus of 105 lawsuits brought by 333 plaintiffs, according to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. These plaintiffs include many Catholic dioceses and archdioceses, universities and schools, and family-owned businesses.

“My first job in Chicago--when I moved after college to work as a community organizer--my first job was funded by the Campaign for Human Development, an anti-poverty initiative of the Catholic Church,” said Obama in his talk to the Catholic Hospital Association. “And my first office was at Holy Rosary Church on the South Side of Chicago, across from Palmer Park.”

It was in the context of this work, Obama explained, that he saw “that every human being, made in the image of God, deserves to live in dignity.”

“There were times where I felt like quitting, where I wondered if the path I’d chosen was too hard,” said Obama.

President Obama: 'Every Human Being, Made in the Mmage of God, Deserves to Live in Dignity' (Wikimedia Commons)

“But despite these challenges, I saw how kindness and compassion and faith can change the arc of people’s lives,” he said. “And I saw the power of faith--a shared belief that every human being, made in the image of God, deserves to live in dignity; that all children, no matter who they are or where they come from or how much money they were born into, ought to have the opportunity to achieve their God-given potential; that we are all called, in the words of His Holiness Pope Francis, ‘to satisfy the demands of justice, fairness, and respect for every human being.’”

Obama later became a state senator in Illinois. In that capacity, he repeatedly opposed legislation that would have defined any baby born alive in the state--even a baby who survived an abortion--as a “human being,” “child,” “person,” “individual.”

In a March 30, 2001 speech on the Illinois senate floor, Obama explained that he opposed this bill because he did not want “the fetus, or child” who survived an abortion to be deemed a “person” and, thus, gain protection under the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.

“[T]he testimony during the committee indicated that one of the key concerns was, is that there was a method of abortion, an induced abortion, where the, the fetus, or child—as some might describe it, is still temporarily alive outside the womb,” Obama said in his floor speech.

“Number one, whenever we define a previable fetus as a person that is protect by the Equal Protection Clause or the other elements of the Constitution, what we’re really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a—child, a nine-month old—child that was delivered to term,” Obama said.

“That determination then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place. I mean, it—it would essentially bar abortions, because the Equal Protection Clause does not allow someone to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an anti-abortion statute.”

When the Obama administration first published its “preventive services” mandate under Obamacare—which required health insurance plans to cover contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs and devices, Catholic Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh was unapologetic in his characterization of it.

“The Obama administration has just told the Catholics of the United States, ‘To Hell with you!’” Bishop Zubik said in a column. “There is no other way to put it.”

Archbishop Timothy Broglio, head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services, was equally pointed in a letter he wrote to be read at all Sunday masses for U.S. military personnel around the world.

“It is imperative that I call to your attention to an alarming and serious matter that negatively impacts the Church in the United States directly, and that strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith,” wrote Archbishop Broglio.

“It is a blow to a freedom that you have fought to defend and for which you have seen your buddies fall in battle,” said the archbishop.

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