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Santorum: Obamacare Is Forcing Catholics Into Confession

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"Santorum: Obamacare Is Forcing Catholics Into Confession"

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While stumping for Mitt Romney in Ohio Wednesday, former presidential hopeful Rick Santorum repeated allegations of President Obama’s so-called “War on Religion,” claiming that Catholics’ freedom of religion is being compromised by the implementation of Obamacare. According to Santorum, whose campaign emphasized his far-right social values, Catholics are being forced to sin by complying with an Obamacare provision that requires employers to provide contraceptive services free of charge:

SANTORUM: We have a president who, for the first time in American history, is directly assaulting the First Amendment and freedom of religion. He is going to tell you what to do in the practice of your faith. He is forcing business people right now to do things that are against their conscience, that they will have to — if you’re a Catholic — you’ll have to go to confession … to confess that you are complying with a government program that is a sin in the Catholic Church.

The former Pennsylvania senator’s charges of Obamacare’s affront to religious liberty echo the conservative Catholic leaders who have been fighting against the birth control provision for the past several months. Dozens of Catholic institutions filed a joint lawsuit against the new contraception regulation, which went into effect on August 1.

However, the Catholic case against the contraception mandate is easily dismantled. The exception the provision includes for religious institutions has been widely accepted as a valid compromise that provides women with contraception through outside insurers, so Catholic-affiliated institutions do not have to pay for the cost of birth control if they object to it. Federal judges have already begun to throw out lawsuits against Obamacare, pointing out that there is no compelling evidence of religious discrimination inherent to the law. And in spite of the fabricated controversy over sinful birth control coverage, many large Catholic universities covered contraceptive services even before the health reform law required them to do so.

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