A change in President Barack Obama’s birth control initiative earlier this month has put Republican presidential candidates in a Constitutional frenzy.
Republican candidates used Wednesday night’s debate in Arizona to openly oppose changes made by Obama to his health care reform passed early last year. The original proposal required most major health care companies to include preventive care at no cost to patients. This would include check-ups, mammograms, immunizations and birth control.
The initial announcement of the new policy sparked controversy among religious institutions, particularly the Catholic Church, which does not support the use of contraceptive services.
Stefano Vianello, a Catholic from Venice, Italy, explained his opinion of why the issue is so controversial.
“The whole contraception topic is very complicated,” Vianello said. “The Catholic Church is basically against it because they don’t want people to stop the natural happening of life.”
Vianello said many in his church don’t understand why someone who wanted to give themselves to their spouse 100 percent would use contraception.
The new changes announced earlier this month would consider religious institutions as being exempt from providing these services to their employees and requiring the health insurance company to provide it instead.
Republican presidential candidates were not impressed.
“We have a problem in this country, and the family is fracturing,” said Rick Santorum in Wednesday night’s debate. “Someone has got to go out there … and talk about the things. Just because I’m talking about it doesn’t mean I want a government program to fix it.”
Students have differing opinions on the issue. Some, like Larissa Davis, a recent graduate of BYU, said she supports what she understands of Obama’s proposal reform, though it’s likely not a perfect system.
“I think having health insurance companies provide these services would be awesome in a perfect world, but it will put a huge burden on everyone with tax increases and will most likely increase the amount of money people have to pay for good insurance,” Davis said. “It would be great to have every service available to every person alive, but again, we do not live in a perfect world and making these services free to everyone will have a lot of consequences.”
Other students, like Jyssica Seebeck, a junior from Los Angeles, majoring in psychology, said she disagrees with Obama’s proposal and feels it’s too invasive.
“I don’t think it would work because even though it has good intentions, it’s too invasive,” Seebeck said. “It’s not a required health service and therefore shouldn’t be free.”
Obama defended the changes, and said it would save the country a lot of money in the long run.
“We fought for this because it saves lives and it saves money — for families, for businesses, for government, for everybody,” Obama said in a press release. “That’s because it’s a lot cheaper to prevent an illness than to treat one.”
Still, presidential candidates are upset by the changes and say they feel it is a religious issue, not a cost issue, that is hurting families across America.
“I don’t think we’ve seen in the history of this country the kind of attack on religious conscience, religious freedom, religious tolerance that we’ve seen under Barack Obama,” former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney told CBSNews. “His position on religious tolerance, on religious conscience is clear, and it’s one of the reasons the people in this country are saying we want to have a president who will stand up and fight for the rights under our Constitution, our first right, which is for freedom of religion”
Watch more of the contraception debate here: