MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida Senator Marco Rubio has never backed down from a challenge, but his latest target is the President of the United States over an issue that could thrust Rubio further into the Republican spotlight.

Earlier this year, President Barack Obama’s administration issued new rules for insurance providers that mandated birth control coverage without co-pays. The administration issued some exceptions for the mandate including churches.

However, church-run schools and universities, hospitals, and charities were not exempted from the new rule.

This has led to conservatives railing against the rule and saying President Obama’s administration is in a “war against religion.”

Senator Rubio jumped into the fight last week when he filed a bill that would repeal this part of President Barack Obama’s healthcare law.

“I don’t think the government should be forcing any institution to pay for something that institution finds to violate their conscience,” Senator Rubio told CBS4’s Tiffani Helberg.

“This is unprecedented because never before in the history of our country has the government tried to insinuate itself in the domain of one’s personal conscience,” said Archbishop Thomas Wenski.

The bill, which may not have much of a chance of passing in the Democratically controlled Senate, pits Rubio against Obama as election season heats up.

“Ultimately, the constitutional right of a religious organization not to be forced to violate their religious principals is of paramount importance in our country,” Rubio said. “It’s one of the founding principals of our nation.”

The White House said it gave religious institutions an extra year to comply with the rule and said individual churches that only serve a narrow population with similar beliefs can also seek exemptions, according to CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald.

“We are concerned that much of what is advertised as contraception is really chemical abortion,” Archbishop Wenski said.

The White House also said 28 states already required insurers to cover the cost of contraceptives.

For Rubio, it’s a tough political issue that could endear him even more to the most socially conservative wings of the Republican Party.

His office is portraying the fight as one over freedom of religion rather than over women’s health.

The White House and Democrats are taking the exact opposite approach saying that there shouldn’t be discrimination between insurance companies that choose to cover drugs like Viagra with little to no co-pay, but then refuse to cover birth control.

Women CBS4 spoke to Monday seemed to side with President Obama in the very public fight.

“I think they should provide it and I mean, I’m Catholic myself, but I think that’s something wrong; it should be allowed by the Catholic Church,” said Lourdes Botioll.

“I think everybody has the right to make their own decision on what they want to do with their body and their reproductive organs,” said Daniela Montoya.

Gaby Moreno took it a step further.

“I think that it should be provided because men, for example, don’t have to deal with any of that and they don’t know what it’s like,” Moreno said. “It’s not fair that we have to pay all these things and always deal with these constant worries like birth control. We’re the ones that get pregnant and that’s kind of like a lot of men, unfortunately, are like, ‘Oh, it’s your issue.'”

It sets up an election year fight with Rubio possibly riding a wave of publicity and popularity to the presidential ticket as a vice-presidential candidate.

Rubio initially said he wasn’t interested but may be softening his stance, recently saying he wants to do whatever he can to help the ticket.

Comments (31)


  2. jorland428 says:

    For hundreds of years, people have been flocking to this country to get away from tyrants. For a great many, it was for freedom of religion.
    This is not about anyone’s freedom to choose. It is about forcing others to go against their beliefs.
    If anyone wants to support abortions, they are free to do so.
    The government has no right to force religious people to go against their beliefs.

    1. Bob says:

      So if a business is run by Amish or Christian Scientists, they should get away with saying :”We don’t believe in medicine. Pray the disease away.”? Sorry, businesses (schools and hospitals are businesses) run by religious groups happily take profits of the business so they can’t claim a religious exemption. Business is business, the law is the law, and religion is separated from the law in our Constitution,

      1. Todd says:

        The law is the law except for the unions, or have you forgotten about alll the waivers given to them? You have no argument at all here unless Obama pulls all the waivers already issued.

    2. matt says:

      umm no ones making them take it. Its only required to be an option

    3. Tony says:

      Sure – as long as they’re willing to give up their tax-exempt status that forces taxpayers to subsidize their belief in something with no factual basis.

    4. txgrl says:

      We’re not talking about abortions. This is about requiring everyone to offer contraception to female employees. How scary it is that we now have so many NUTS in this country who want to force women to reproduce, many like Rick Santorum, even in cases of rape or incest. Thirty years ago it was more than OK for a Republican to support Planned Parenthood and many like Prescott Bush, senator from Connecticut and father of George HW Bush, did just that. Republicans made a big mistake getting in bed with the religious right in the 80s. Now the GOP is being destroyed by these zealots.

    5. Max Powers says:

      I don’t believe in paying taxes to support war, but I’m forced to. Get used to it, it’s how it works.

    6. Marge says:

      So if the church is so so so against birth control pills, how come they are screaming about companies that sell condoms. Or how about viagra that just leads to PLEASURE for a MAN and nothing else. They and those that support this are a bunch of hypocrites.

  3. Luddite says:

    Jorland: society (government) cannot make people “go against their beliefs”?
    -So Rastas CAN smoke ganga legally?
    -So Muslims and Mormons CAN have multiple wives?
    -So Santarias CAN sacrifice chickens?
    -So Jews and Christians CAN sacrifice lambs or their children?

    Rubio is misguided and putting the horse BEFORE the cart to appease one segment of his constituency, not the broad base he represents in Congress.

  4. Max Maxwell says:

    hahahahahahaha, now here’s an issue that marco polo can relate to, inflateable balloons, afterall it’s a cuban tradition to sell them on sw 8 st just like mommy used to buy him as a child, fighting the president over condoms?? hahahahahah
    rubio, you are a nutcase plain and simple, resign let a real politician have the office idiota.

  5. Ann says:

    Marco Rubio – another pandering hypocrit – what a shock

  6. Muditha says:

    Just because I work for you does not mean that you can tell me what I cannot do with my own body.

    I would be better if you only hired people that believed in your views than force people who don’t to comply with them

  7. poorwhiteboy says:


  8. Maria Perez says:

    RESPONSABILITY, why should we all pay higher insurance because ‘we’ cannot control our sexual needs. It takes 2 to tango, man should also have control and not depend on the women. Birth control pills are not healthy, it is time to have birth control for men that causes blood clogs, heart condition, etc. When this is done, lets go out for a vote again for the insurances to cover the 2. Also, ask your mothers why they decided to have a child. If you make the decision to have sexual intercourse, be responsible for your action!

  9. Sara Siddiqui says:

    Who cares what M Rubio thinks!?!?? He is such a hypocrit

  10. Hair bear says:

    This young man has been feed a lot of Hype! He’s beginning to look stupid!

    1. Timbuck2 says:

      He will suffer the same fate that Bobby Jindal suffered when the Republicans threw him out and he was not ready to deal with American politics! He is clipping his own political wings…Soon you will not hear his name. It is unfortunate for those whose families are not first generation Americans, they really do not understand American politics and jump out unarmed…I’m just saying. He has not thought about the number of his people who come to this country illegally and have babies for others to take care of, there should be a birth control stop at the border!

  11. Ginger says:

    People who want to have sex should either buy their own birth control or go to the health department and get it for free. It is not the government’s (or the Church’s) responsibility to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Why would (or should) anyone expect to be provided free contraceptives?

    This isn’t a gender issue or a question of the freedom of choice regarding birth control. The lack of personal responsibility and self-reliance here is astounding.

    1. Timbuck2 says:

      Men get free Viagara

      1. Todd says:

        And the unions all got waivers for Obamacare, why not just issue waivers to these Catholic groups too? I think Obama will do this and probably close to the election, that way he’ll look like a hero and get some catholic votes back. Never underestimate politicians!

    2. Tony says:

      “The lack of personal responsibility and self-reliance here is astounding.”

      The same thing could be said about those who believe in Catholicism.

    3. Jon Davis says:

      If one goes to the health dept to get “free” birth control, isn’t that the government?

  12. atteloc716 says:


    Why does the Catholic church coexist with other countries that offer same policies in their healthcare systems ?
    And if this stomping on a religious belief, why the flip flop when it comes to other faiths? Islam, Mormons and Jehovah’s ?

  13. Dean B. says:

    I don’t understand why the religious right is getting so upset about religious based companies having to provide birth control coverage to its female employees. If these religious employers don’t want to provide contraception coverage in its health insurance options to its female employees, that’s fine. However, then they should not be allowed to provide Viagra, Cialis, or any other ED drug to its male employees either, seems only fair.

  14. Bones says:

    “This is unprecedented because never before in the history of our country has the government tried to insinuate itself in the domain of one’s personal conscience,”
    Is that a joke????? The gov’t has been doing it for centuries!!!!

  15. lexgreen says:

    There’s no there, there.

    Just because someone has health coverage that pays for contraceptives doesn’t mean they are required to use contraceptives. Any Church / Employer can counsel its employees against using birth control as they did before.

    And any employee in a workplace that doesn’t have health care coverage that includes birth control, can still go out and pay for birth control if they want.

    So nothing will have changed, and Rubio’s “position” is a vacuum.

    Another fine example of why the sensible middle, if there are any left, needs to come out and thoroughly trounce any conservative candidates in the next election, they are a bunch of incompentant, do nothing, say anything, ideology advocates. They are a global embarrasement for the US and have managed to keep the US recovery moving at a crawl.

  16. Nancy says:

    The one-term senator is a loser and tries to make himslf relevent by constantly giving gargage speeches. Go away already.

  17. Switters says:

    I think Rubio nust have been buggered by several priests when he was a boy…

  18. James says:

    I am a catholic and my wife & I chose to limit our family through contrception. I bet you that Rubio and his wife also did the same.

  19. John N Florida says:

    There’s a real easy way out. Stop automatically covering men’s reproductive health. That’s what started this whole thing 12 years ago. The policies covered the men but not the women. EEOC said you can’t do that.EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY.
    3 ways out: 1.) cover both equally
    2.) cover neither equally
    3.) Don’t offer any insurance at all.

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