The controversy over President Obama’s HHS Mandate is now pouring out onto the streets. On March 23, concerned citizens in over 50 cities -- including Washington D.C., New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Francisco -- will gather at federal buildings for a rally with the theme, “Stand Up for Religious Freedom -- Stop the HHS Mandate!”
Thousands of Americans of all faiths are expected to participate in these rallies, organized by Citizens for a Pro-Life Society and the Pro-Life Action League, to oppose the new mandate from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that requires all employers to provide free contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs through their health plans. Religious leaders and other public figures will speak out against the HHS Mandate.
The HHS provided a “religious exemption” so narrow that it would exclude Catholic hospitals, universities, and charities, forcing these institutions to act in direct opposition to Catholic teaching through the health care plans they provide.
“With the HHS Mandate, the Obama administration has presumed upon itself the authority to decide what counts as a religious institution in this country,” said Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League. “This is an unprecedented attack on the free exercise of religious faith protected by the First Amendment.”
“The Obama mandate is a complete affront to religious liberty,” said Monica Miller, director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society. “Persons of faith or no faith at all should be alarmed at Obama riding rough-shod over the conscience of American citizens. We are calling on all people of good will to rise up and vigorously oppose this ruling.”
Scheidler and Miller have formed the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Coalition, comprised of dozens of local and national pro-life and pro-family organizations, to fight the HHS Mandate through direct action.
The Coalition declares:
We protest the federal government’s definition of what constitutes a religious institution through the narrowly constructed “exemption” to the HHS Mandate, a definition which is both false and beyond the federal government’s authority to make.
We protest the fact that religious institutions, even after President Obama’s so-called “accommodation,” are being forced to facilitate contraception, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs through the health plans they are mandated to provide.
We protest the Mandate forcing all businesses -- not just religious institutions -- to provide coverage of contraception, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs, even if doing so violates their own moral convictions on these matters.
We protest the HHS Mandate because, in requiring all health plans to provide free contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs as “preventative care,” it treats pregnancy and childbirth as a disease.