According to Citizens for a Pro-Life Society and the Pro-Life Action League, protests are scheduled for Washington DC, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco and dozens of other locations under the title, "Stand Up for Religious Freedom - Stop the HHS Mandate!"
Thousands of Americans of all faiths are expected to participate in the rallies to oppose the mandate which will force religious employers to provide free contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs through to employees in their health plans. The HHS provided a "religious exemption" that is so narrow it would exclude all Catholic hospitals, universities and charities, forcing them 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, if even 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.
More information about the Nationwide Rally for Religious Freedom -- including rally sites coast to coast -- can be found at StandUpForReligiousFreedom.com.
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