The following excerpts come from a statement issued by Robert Aguirre, president of Catholic Association of Latino Leaders.
In Alexis de Tocqueville's famous book, Democracy in America, first published in 1835, he stated that free societies cannot sustain themselves without widespread adherence to common moral convictions. These are powerful words that are easy to agree with, but much harder to live by - especially in today's America.
In a speech to Catholics in 2009, President Obama seemed to take a page from Democracy in America when he said that his administration would be, "an abiding example of good works, charity, kindness and service that moves hearts and minds." He said, "Let's honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause." In doing so he promised that he would respect the faith beliefs and religious liberty of those who would reject the notion of abortion on the basis of morality, faith or conscience.
Today, however, we see what was not apparent yesterday
On January 20, President Obama and his Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, through a stroke of the pen, perpetrated a full frontal assault on common moral convictions and religious liberty. They decreed a reduction in our constitutionally protected freedom of religion by mandating that virtually all insurance plans in our country include free sterilization and contraception, including some drugs that can cause abortions, as part of a list of "preventive services….”
This unnecessary war launched by President Obama is filled with irony. Notre Dame, a major Catholic institution, honored this president with a degree honoris causa (for the sake of the honor). Secretary Sebelius of Health and Human Services and Vice-President Joe Biden are, themselves, Catholic. But to me this is the biggest irony of all: This president's policy of expanded "preventive services" is most targeted to the very people who helped put him in office: Hispanics.
More than any other group, Hispanics treat as inseparable the values, faith, and traditions that have uniquely shaped our culture for centuries. We believe that family and faith are not to be separated and we deplore, in the strongest terms possible, this administration's attempt to drive a wedge between Hispanics and their faith.
But the irony doesn't stop there.
Hispanics supported this president by a two-to-one margin in the 2008 election. For their support they got a president who broke up more families through his deportation policy than any president in U.S. history (30% more than the previous administration). In a Pew Research Center survey in December 2011 it was disclosed that Hispanics disapprove of the president's policy by a margin of two-to-one. Go figure.