.- The HHS contraception mandate is an insult to the Catholic community and shows that President Obama needs prayer, according to a national group of Latino leaders.
âPresident Barack Obama has not just given the Catholic community a slap in the face, he is telling Hispanic Catholics to limit our families and forget our religious beliefs,â Robert Aguirre, president of the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders, said Jan. 31.
He cited President Obamaâs May 2009 speech at the University of Notre Dame in which the president said âLetâs honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause.â
The HHS mandate, Aguirre said, showed âthe presidentâs promise was nothing more than a shell game.â
On Jan. 20 the Department of Health and Human Services finalized a rule requiring âpreventive careâ insurance coverage for sterilizations and contraception, including the abortifacient drug Ella. While the mandate has a religious exemption, the exemption will not cover many Catholic health care systems, colleges, and charities.
Over one hundred Catholic bishops have published statements objecting to the mandate and asking Catholics to voice their opposition.
âIf ever there was proof that this administration takes the Hispanic vote for granted it is in this policy so lacking in respect for us, for our faith and for the religious liberty upon which this country was founded,â said Maria Suarez Hamm, a CALL member from Washington D.C.
âIt is an insult to our intelligence to disguise anti-life products as âhealthcareâ and then force us to pay for it,â Suarez continued, advising Latinos to take the new policy into account when deciding how to vote.
Aguirre characterized the mandate as âan assault on our faith as Catholicsâ that is demeaning towards their âbelief in life.â It âobliterates our constitutional protection of religious freedom,â he stated.
President Obama, he charged, is âtelling not just Hispanic Catholics, but all people of faith, that our faith-formed opinions have no place in the public square.â
âHispanics are people of faith and family and these values are as unique as our culture,â Aguirre continued. âWe believe that family and faith are not to be separated and we deplore in the strongest terms possible this administrationâs attempt to curb the religious liberty of Hispanic families.â
The association urged prayers, saying, âWe call on all Catholics â especially Hispanic Catholics â to pray for the president.â
The San-Antonio based organization has chapters in Los Angeles, Orange County, Phoenix, Denver, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Milwaukee, Miami and Washington, D.C.