Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) appealed to conservatives’ disapproval of President Obama’s healthcare law during a speech Friday in Washington, D.C.
Adressing the annual Values Voter Summit, hosted by the ultra-conservative Family Research Council, Ryan took aim at the law’s contraception mandate, which has riled religious conservatives for months. Ryan accused Obama and congressional Democrats of ignoring the “religious liberty” of Americans in order to ensure widespread access to birth control.
“In the president’s telling, government is a big, benevolent presence – gently guiding our steps at every turn,” Ryan said. “In reality, when government enters the picture, private institutions are so often brushed aside with suspicion or even contempt. This is what happened to the Catholic Church and Catholic Charities this past January, when the new mandates of Obamacare started coming. Never mind your own conscience, they were basically told. From now on, you’re going to do things the government’s way.
“Ladies and gentlemen, you would be hard pressed to find another group in America that does more to serve the health of women and their babies than the Catholic Church and Catholic Charities. And now, suddenly, we have Obamacare bureaucrats presuming to dictate how they will do it. As Governor Romney has said, this mandate is not a threat and insult to one religious group – it is a threat and insult to every religious group. He and I are honored to stand with you – people of faith and concerned citizens – in defense of religious liberty.”
Ryan later stated that “the Obama-Biden ticket stands for an absolute, unqualified right to abortion.”
The Obama administration has said that religious groups — schools, organizations, etc — will not be forced to provide free contraception within the health plans they offer if they do not wish to do so. Nonetheless, critics have pushed the administration to go further toward making that point clear.
Ryan also tore into Obama’s handling of the Islamic uprisings this week in the Middle East, accusing the president of failing to lead.
“In the days ahead, and in the years ahead, American foreign policy needs moral clarity and firmness of purpose,” he said. “Only by the confident exercise of American influence are evil and violence overcome. That is how we keep problems abroad from becoming crises. That is what keeps the peace. And that is what we will have in a Romney-Ryan administration.”