Obama: “Not Fair” to Allow Catholic Hospitals Mandate Opt Out

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 10, 2012   |   3:30PM   |   Washington, DC

As if President Barack Obama hasn’t done enough to sour his re-election prospects with Catholic voters due to the egregious mandate requiring them to pay for abortion-causing drugs and birth control, now Obama has added insult to injury.

In an interview with television station WWL, Obama answered questions from local viewers. As Media reports, one viewer asked him about the mandate and the supposed religious exemption — that has been universally criticized by pro-life, Catholic and Protestant religious groups for being so narrowly drawn that virtually no one can opt out.

As WWL’s Karen Swenson told Obama:  “(Viewer Michael Varino) describes himself as a Catholic voter and wrote ‘What can you say about a healthcare bill that’ll mandate insurance companies to provide birth control, sterilization, etc. to employees of Catholic universities, hospitals and churches since this goes against the Catholic religion? We know there is compromising language in place. Some say it doesn’t go far enough and that the real, the much bigger issue is religious liberty, not contraception.”

Obama defended the opt out, saying, “Yeah. Well it’s absolutely true that religious liberty is critical. That’s what our country was founded on. That’s the reason why we exempted churches, we exempted religious institutions.

Obama then added that he thought religious hospitals, like Catholic institutions, and universities that employ non-Catholics and receive federal funds should be required to cover abortion-causing drugs, birth control, and contraception under Obamacare. He said the idea that women would have to bear “the burden and the cost” was not right.

“But we did say that big Catholic hospitals and universities that employ a lot of non-Catholics and who receive a lot of federal money — that for them to be in position to ay to a woman who works there that you can’t get that from your insurance company even though the institution isn’t paying for it — that that crosses the line and the woman is going to have to bear the burden and pay the cost for that,” Obama said.

“That’s not fair,” Obama said.