Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has emerged as one of the leading spokesman for the newest cultural war: Repealing the Obama administration’s plan to make some religious institutions, such as hospitals and universities, comply with federal law requiring all health plans to provide contraceptives without a copay.
Rubio introduced legislation this week that would repeal the federal health care requirement. His bill has the backing of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, today called the requirement unconstitutional. So did Rubio, in an interview with talk show host Laura Ingraham. Rubio said he hope President Barack Obama’s adminsitration would "realize that they have made a big, big mistake here."
One of the most" cherished constitutional principles, in fact one of the cornerstone ones when this country was founded and framed through the Constitution, was the issue of religious freedom," Rubio said. "And the notion that somehow the government of the United States could come in and not just force you to do it but, more importantly, force a religious organization to pay for something that religion teaches is immoral would be so beyond anything the framers could have imagined. And it's exactly the kind of thing they wanted to prevent when they enshrined that protection in the Constitution."
Rubio, who is Catholic, told Politico earlier today that he and his wife, who have four children, practice the official church policy, which bans contraception. "I can tell you that none of my children were planned," he told Politico.
They are likely in the minority among Catholics. In a well-cited study from this spring, the Guttmacher Institute found that among all women who have had sex, 99 percent have used a contraceptive method other than natural family planning. The number is "virtually the same among Catholic women," the study found, with 98 percent of Catholic women using birth control at some point in their lives.
Rubio called his legislation "a common sense bill that simply says the government can’t force religious organizations to abandon the fundamental tenets of their faith because the government says so."