June 7, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - On Friday, tens of thousands of pro-life Americans in 160 cities across the United States will rally against the Obama Administration’s abortifacient birth control mandate.
Organized by Pro-Life Action League’s Eric Scheidler and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society’s Monica Miller, the national Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally has chosen Friday, June 8—the 223rd anniversary of James Madison’s introduction of the Bill of Rights to the first Congress—to protest the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s policy forcing religious employers to provide contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs.
Almost 100 pro-life and religious liberty organizations, including Human Life International, Live Action, Operation Rescue, Catholic Vote, the Alliance Defense Fund, and many others have joined the coalition supporting the rallies.
The group argues that the HHS mandate, part of Obama’s health care reform law, violates the conscience rights and religious liberties of private healthcare providers.
The rallies come just weeks before the highly anticipated ruling on Obama’s health care law from the U.S. Supreme Court.
“If Obamacare is ruled unconstitutional, we must ensure that religious freedom will be protected in subsequent health care legislation,” said co-director of the rallies, Monica Miller. “But if Obamacare is not struck down, we’ll be sending the federal authorities a clear message that the faith based institutions and private businesses affected by the HHS Mandate simply will not comply with it.”
“The federal government has no business defining the scope of religious ministry,” said Miller, referring to a “religious exemption” in the HHS Mandate drawn so narrowly that it excludes such religious institutions as Catholic schools and hospitals.
After an initial flurry of protests, HHS did issue an “accommodation” to alleviate concerns, but critics dismissed the change as an “accounting trick.”
“In the so-called accommodation, insurance companies—not the religious employers themselves—would be forced to pay for the abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception,” organizers of the rallies observe. “However, since any funds the insurance companies would use to make such payments ultimately come from the premiums paid by employers, Obama’s ‘accommodation’ is nothing more than a kind of economic shell-game.”
The first Stand Up Rally, which took place on March 23, attracted over 63,000 participants in 145 cities. Organizers say they expect higher numbers on Friday.
Most rallies begin at noon local time Friday. Location and contact information for all events can be found on the Stand Up Rally’s website.