Coburn: Debate over birth-control rule ‘blown out of proportion’

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said conservatives claiming the Obama administration is waging a war on religious liberty because of its policy mandating healthcare coverage for contraception are blowing the matter “out of proportion.”

The Catholic Church and some on the right are furious with the administration over the policy, which would require some religiously affiliated hospitals to cover birth control in their healthcare plans.


While Coburn strongly disagrees with the policy, speaking Thursday on MSNBC he indicated that he thought the rhetoric that has sprung up around the issue was overheated.

“This is blown out of proportion,” he said. “It is an important point in terms of religious liberty, but it’s a consequence of having too big of a government.”

Coburn acknowledged that the program has “professed benefits,” but said “in the long run we all lose when the government is that involved in our life.”

“There’s nothing wrong with their motivation — they’re well-meaning people,” he said. “But the consequence is that we lose liberty.”

In recent days, some on the right — including the GOP presidential candidates — have hammered the president for being “hostile” to “people of faith.”

Coburn framed the issue as a larger debate over the role of government that affects faith tangentially.

“We’re so far beyond the effectiveness of our government to implement things and when we try to do good things, the costs and consequences of them outweigh what we’re trying to do that’s good.”