In two campaign speeches over the last two days, President Barack Obama has twice mistakenly mentioned “my sons” when defending his administration’s regulation requiring virtually all health-care plans in the United States to provide women, without any fees or co-pay, with sterilizations and all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives, including those that can cause abortions.
Obama, of course, has two daughters--10-year-old Sasha and 13-year-old Malia--but no sons.
On Monday, 43 Catholic dioceses and organizations across the country--including the archdioceses of New York and Washington, D.C. and the University of Notre Dame and Catholic University of America—filed 12 different lawsuits against the Obama administration arguing that because the sterilization-contraception-abortifacient mandate would force Catholics to act against the teachings of their faith it violates the First Amendment right to freedom of religion.
At the Iowa State Fair Grounds on Thursday, Obama said: “We don’t need another political fight about ending a woman’s right to choose, or getting rid of Planned Parenthood or taking away affordable birth control. We don’t need that. I want women to control their own health choices, just like I want my daughters to have the same economic opportunities as my sons. We’re not turning back the clock. We’re not going back there.”
The video of the speech posted by the Des Moines Register also shows that despite his slip about "my sons," the president was speaking with the help of a teleprompter.
On Wednesday at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City, Calif., Obama made the same mistaken reference to “my sons.”
“We don’t need another political fight about ending a woman’s right to choose, or getting rid of Planned Parenthood, or taking away access to affordable birth control,” Obama said, according to the White House transcript of his speech. “I want women to control their own health care choices, just like I want my daughters to have the same opportunities as my sons. We’re not rolling back the clock.”
In other recent speeches, Obama delivered virtually the same line as he did at the Iowa State Fair Grounds and at the Fox Theatre but said "your sons" instead of "my sons."
In Denver on Wednesday, for example, according to the White House transcript, Obama said at a campaign event at the Hyatt Regency: "We certainly don’t need another political fight about ending a woman’s right to choose, or get rid of Planned Parenthood, or taking away affordable birth control. I want women to control their own health choices, just like I want my daughters to have the same opportunities as your sons."
Obama also delivered the line that way on May 10 at a campaign event in Seattle.
Earlier this month, at a campaign event at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City, Obama made a similarly mistaken reference to “my sons” while defending of the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which expanded the statute of limitations for filing lawsuits alleging discrimination in employment compensation.
“The first bill I signed, the Lilly Ledbetter Act--a simple proposition--equal pay for equal work. I don’t want my daughters treated differently than my sons,” Obama said, according to the White House transcript of that speech.
Obama made yet another similar rhetorical slip back on Jan. 12, while speaking at a campaign event at a private residence in Chicago, Ill. At that event, according to the White House transcript, he also mistakenly mentioned “my sons” in the context of talking about the Lily Ledbetter law.
“The first bill I signed--a bill that said that we’re going to have equal pay for equal work because I want my daughters treated the same way as my sons,” said Obama. “We got that done.”
In that instance, the Washington Post and Politico both took notice of the president’s slip of the tongue. Post columnist Al Kamen wrote: “Breaking news! President Obama, speaking last night in Chicago at a fundraiser at a private home, unloaded this bombshell: Obama, according to the White House transcript, talked about ‘The first bill I signed--a bill that said that we’re going to have equal pay for equal work because I want my daughters treated the same way as my sons.’ Sons? What sons? How many? Where? Names? Do the girls know? (More importantly, does Michelle?) Will the boys be joining him on the campaign trail?”
Politico picked up on Kamen’s piece, posting a short item by Byron Tau that said: “The Washington Post's Al Kamen catches this nugget in President Obama's address to supporters yesterday in Chicago: ‘The first bill I signed--a bill that said that we’re going to have equal pay for equal work because I want my daughters treated the same way as my sons.’ It's not the first time that a rhetorical hypothetical has tripped up the president, as when a ‘Muslim faith’ reference was taken wildly out of context.”
Obama, as noted, does not have sons. Nor was he born in Kenya. Nor is he a Muslim.
But it is a fact, as the White House itself reported in its transcripts of his speeches, that on four occasions this year President Obama has rhetorically slipped up and mistakenly talked about “my sons”—nonexistent though they are.
And in the last two days, in two separate speeches, he mistakenly talked about “my sons” in defending his mandate to force Catholics and Catholic institutions to act against the teachings of their faith in buying and providing health plans that pay for sterilizations, contraceptives, and abortifacients.
The Catholic teachings on sterilization, contraception and abortion that Obama’s mandate would force Catholics to violate are based in part on the premise that man has no right to veto God’s decision to bring a new life into the world.
“It is to be anticipated that perhaps not everyone will easily accept this particular teaching,” Pope Paul VI said in the 1968 Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae. “There is too much clamorous outcry against the voice of the Church, and this is intensified by modern means of communication. But it comes as no surprise to the Church that she, no less than her divine Founder, is destined to be a ‘sign of contradiction.’ She does not, because of this, evade the duty imposed on her of proclaiming humbly but firmly the entire moral law, both natural and evangelical.
“Since the Church did not make either of these laws, she cannot be their arbiter—only their guardian and interpreter,” said the pope. “It could never be right for her to declare lawful what is in fact unlawful, since that, by its very nature, is always opposed to the true good of man. In preserving intact the whole moral law of marriage, the Church is convinced that she is contributing to the creation of a truly human civilization.”