(CNSNews.com) - Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) said Wednesday that President Barack Obama is acting like the U.S. is the Soviet Union in ordering that all health-care plans must cover sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives, including those that cause abortions, but that when those plans are provided by religious institutions that have a religious objection to those things the insurance company must offer them for free.
“The president has said he offered an accommodation," said Johann's in a speech on the Senate floor. "The accommodation is that: Whoa! Lo, and behold, this is going to be free. Now, I’d like to know what legal authority he relies upon that the president could ever order anyone to offer a service or an item free.
“He has no such authority," said Johanns. "This isn’t the Soviet Union. This is the United States of America. We don’t believe that for a moment. Of course, you are going to be paying for this through your insurance premiums. Well, my hope is that we will read our Constitution, and we will stand as a united front, upholding religious freedom which is being violated by this mandate,” the senator added.
Johanns was speaking in support of an amendment by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) that would have allowed any employer not to include coverage sterilizations, contraceptives and abortifacients in an insurance plan if it violated the employer's religious faith to do so.
The amendment failed in a 51-to-48 vote on Thursday.