Santorum: Obamacare Contraception Mandate Still Infringes on Freedoms

Friday, 01 Feb 2013 08:36 PM

By Cyrus Afzali and Kathleen Walter

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Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum tells Newsmax TV that defense secretary nominee Chuck Hagel lacks a grasp of important issues relevant to the job and that his confirmation would send horrible signal to Israel, the United States’ most important ally in the region.

Santorum has helped establish a Web site, www.notochuck.com, that allows visitors an opportunity to voice their concern over Hagel’s nomination to their senator. He said Hagel is not only unqualified but holds opinions that are outside mainstream Republican and Democratic public policy with respect to stopping Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. He also believes Hagel is outside the mainstream on the Palestinian issue and on what America’s policies toward Israel should be.

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“It would be a horrible signal to send to our ally Israel and to Iran and to other threats around the world to put such as a weak nominee in place,” Santorum said. “After yesterday’s hearings, people are now beginning to realize not only are his opinions wrong, he can’t even frankly cogently talk about what his opinions are, doesn’t have a grasp of the issues and thinks his job as secretary of defense is to simply do what Barack Obama tells him to do.”

Speaking about Friday’s news that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will work to create a way to give women access to contraception whose employers may object to providing them as required by the Affordable Care Act, Santorum said having the coverage provided by a third party doesn’t change his opinion of the mandate.

“This is another attempt to make it look like they’re being sensitive to religious convictions,” Santorum said.

He believes that exceptions should also be made for private employers who have objections to providing contraceptive coverage, not just religious organizations. He said as long as employees of organizations who object to providing contraceptive coverage are able to obtain it, the employer is going to end up paying for it one way or another.

He calls the contraceptive issue a First Amendment issue, saying it goes against the religious liberties afforded to Americans.

“If we now have a country that says the government can force people in their private lives to do things that are inconsistent with their religious teachings and make them spend money or administer policies they don’t believe in, we have dramatically eroded that First Amendment,” Santorum said. “I’m hopeful the Supreme Court will stay by that Constitutional right.”

Speaking about Friday’s suicide attack killing two outside the U.S. embassy in Turkey, Santorum believes that event as well as the actions of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi illustrates that the administration’s current Middle East policies are misguided.

“President Obama almost did a ‘mission accomplished’ when we were able to kill Osama Bin Laden, but as we’ve seen through those who follow radical Islamist terrorism, Osama Bin Laden was simply one of many and the Arab spring has definitely turned into an Arab winter,” Santorum said. “This is an area of the world that respects strength – the strong horse – and we have proven to be the weak horse and they’re taking advantage.”

Turning to the Obama administration’s decision to lift the ban on women in military combat roles, Santorum said he believes having women in combat will not give the military the fighting force it needs to accomplish its mission while minimizing loss of life.

“There are lots of roles in the military for women. Almost every role women can do as well as men, but that has to be the test. And when you’re talking about infantry and the weight that has to be carried, you’re talking about a very difficult physical exertion,” Santorum said. “To suggest to me that a unit of women could do the same job as a unit of men, there just doesn’t seem to be any evidence that that’s the case.”

Speaking on the roles that evangelical Christians can have in the Republican Party, Santorum said evangelicals should stay engaged and actively work to remain a force within the party.

“There’s a battle right now going on within the Republican Party and the conservative movement to throw social conservatives overboard. That, somehow, is the answer to the Republican woes of running moderate candidates and losing the presidency,” he said. “That is not the answer and we as social conservatives and conservatives generally have to understand how socially conservative ideas, economic conservative ideas and strong churches and strong values and virtues work together.”


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