Thousands expected to protest contraception mandate at nationwide demonstrations on March 23

News release from Citizens for a Pro-Life Society and the Pro-Life Action League

Chicago — 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.

To see coalition members and for more information about the nationwide rally, including rally sites coast to coast, Click Here.



Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012 3:04 AM By Sarah
This is not just a Catholic issue; it concerns people of many faiths, including Evangelical, Mormon, Orthodox Jews and others. Plan ahead. Invite other people to car pool and protest with you. More importantly, remember to protest the Obama mandate at the ballot box in November. If Obama is re-elected to a second term, he will do whatever he wants, since he will not be concerned about another re-election. He is anti-Christian. In order to cut costs in his Obama-Care program, he could limit medical care for children born with physical or mental disabilities, limit medical care for the elderly and other groups he considers undesirable.

Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012 5:19 AM By Ted
To the press, the only (almost) Catholics who would be against the mandate would be the bishops. Not that this protest will bend the will of the anti-Christain administration, but it will show that the laity in large numbers agree with the Church and are willing to do so in a very public manner.

Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012 7:31 AM By Sandra
Where are we gathering in the Bay Area? sign me up.

Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012 7:33 AM By Sandra
San Francisco Federal Building 90 7th Street (Map) E-mail the Rally Captain at Noon.

Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012 7:47 AM By JMJ
Sounds as though Obama and his goons will be having a field day with all of the arrests from all of us terrorists. None of us should pay the fines, instead let us get use to being put in jail, which will be very common if he gets into the White House this fall. +JMJ+

Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012 8:00 AM By Larry
A street demonstration on a Friday. How does that work to get out the largest crowds possible.

Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012 8:51 AM By JLS
All the arrestees could insist on jury separate jury trials with public defenders.

Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012 9:23 AM By Dana
I’ll be with you all in spirit. Go for it Sandra, Larry and all and may God be with you!

Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012 1:34 PM By Rosie
You should be planning your peaceful and lawful protests to include ways to resist and thwart any attempt to unlawfully arrest members of your protest, not making it easy for them to abuse the Law. Allowing yourself to be unlawfully arrested is foolish. That is not winning. That is not martyrdom. That is enabling. Don’t do it. All that would accomplish is to give legitimacy to the illegitimate actions of oathbreakers. Recall the Catholics who came before us and fought oppressive tyranny. Maybe if firm resistance is shown now, we won’t be forced to repeat the events of Vendee, France and Jalisco, Mexico. They only have the power if we give it to them. RESIST.

Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012 4:03 PM By Anne T.
When some were trying to outlaw circumcision here in Californa, many of us Catholics defended the right of Jewish and Muslim people to circumcise their sons even though our religion (the Catholic one) does not require it, so now I hope the Jewish and Muslim people remember that and help us put through Missouri Sen.Roy Blunt’s legislation which would repeal the HHS mandate and provide conscience protection for ALL Americans..

Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012 4:29 PM By lisag
I intend to be there, SF, we should also be demanding that our own California laws be changed. In California Catholic Charities pays for contraception already. Summary: The WCEA was challenged in this case by Catholic Charities of Sacramento, which sought to block the law because it does not fall under the “religious employer” exemption that was included in the law in response to pressure from Catholic groups. Catholic Charities argued that the statute presented it with the dilemma of “either refusing to provide health insurance coverage for its employees or facilitating the sin of contraception, both of which violate its religious beliefs.” The amicus brief submitted by CRR and other groups argued that the WCEA properly balances the relevant interests and rights and does not violate the First Amendment Rights of employers such as Catholic Charities. In 2004, the California Supreme Court upheld the WCEA, holding that it does not impermissibly impair the religious rights of Catholic Charities by requiring that they include prescription contraceptives in their health benefit program.

Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012 5:06 PM By Delilah
I will be there in San Diego. I don’t care if I get arrested. As long as it won’t keep me from renewing my RN license and visting JH on the 4th Sunday of the month. Pax

Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012 8:26 PM By Harry
‘To the press, the only (almost) Catholics who would be against the mandate would be the bishops. Not that this protest will bend the will of the anti-Christian administration, but it will show that the laity in large numbers agree with the Church and are willing to do so in a very public manner.’ You deserve an A+ for that comment Ted. It is extremely important that the Church present a united front, made up of bishops, priests, religious and laity. The media are rabid supporters of the mandate. They are at pains to make people think that ONLY the Catholic bishops are fighting this battle, that the laity are all contracepting and could care less, or even oppose the bishops. they can be easily defeated. We must let the world see that we LAY FOLKS are also fighting it eagerly and that we stand behind our bishops.

Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012 8:38 PM By Delilah
The rally will be at 1600 Pacific Coast Hwy, County Admin. Building. Bishop Cirilo will be one of the speakers!! Pax

Posted Wednesday, February 29, 2012 8:10 AM By Ann O’Neill
I will be in San Diego, and am delighted that Bishop Cirilo will be there!

Posted Wednesday, February 29, 2012 11:05 AM By marcum
Are the bishops involved in this protest rally in SF? San Francisco Federal Building 90 7th Street (Map) E-mail the Rally Captain at Noon. The local media will do it’s best to block all mention of this planned protest action. Suggest: one week in advance, start calling all your local media news outlets (TV, radio, newspaper) and bombard them with requests to cover this important protest.

Posted Wednesday, February 29, 2012 11:36 AM By marcum
This is a war on our liberty. A one day protest is easy to dismiss in the larger scale of the battle and the regime is not threatened to the least. They have a real animus against the Catholic Church and our bishops..lets be clear. The bishops and lay folk must work together for a more persistent, loud, and wide ranging protest plan (take a few lessons from the left). If we want to prevail, we have to stay active on the front lines out in the streets and not just in the wings of the blogosphere and social media sites. I as a very concerned Catholic, would like to see a plan of public protests put into action every other Friday until Nov election. I would pledge to attend as many as possible to fight for our liberty and faith. Anyone else agree with this or am I just a desperate clinger in a hopeless battle?

Posted Wednesday, February 29, 2012 2:37 PM By Bob
The mandate is not only a violation of freedom of religion in the first amendment, it is also this Administration telling companies what they must provide, birth control materials, etc. Where does the constitution permit this power grab? What’s next? What house or car I must buy?

Posted Wednesday, February 29, 2012 3:09 PM By k
Someone suggested that they are doing this to keep Catholics distracted from something else. Heads up!

Posted Monday, March 12, 2012 9:57 PM By Omar
There is nothing tircnoversoal in what I cited above from Ray Brown. All this is a commonplace in contemporary biblical and historical scholarship. But the inevitable paradigm shift in our understanding of Catholic doctrine has not yet happened, at least not in statements such as “Bishops as Teachers.” Cardinal Wuerl seems to write as if the scholarship of the last forty or fifty years has not happened. This does not help the Bishops’ credibility, nor bode well for the possibility of fruitful interaction between theologians and Bishops. Why do you suppose the Cardinal uses the old RSV translation? Unfortunately, I think these two observations bring up the same endemic problem in US RC clergy. Most of them, once they finish seminary and get ordained, think they know all the theology which they will ever need to know and never study again. They are caught up in career management, institutional administration, fund raising. What theology professors and current theology students see as continuity, most clergy see as momentary glimpses of sharp contrast.Note too, that many of the clergy over age 65 were still educated in the Thomistic manual seminary system. They may expect to see one right answer to be given on theology exams as the objective in theological studies.One of the startling things in the seminaries in the late 1960s was how shocked the faculty was at the volume of new ways of looking at things coming out of the council. The seminarians were reading periodicals which dealt with these things which the faculty was often unable or unwilling to teach in the classrooms.I wonder if Cardinal Wuerl is having a similar problem?I repeat my frequent plaint that many fail to grasp the distinction made by Aquinas between the authority of jurisdiction and the authority of expertise and the need of those with jurisdiction to avail themselves of the expertise. Of course, the bishop of Paris burned the works of Aquinas, so this sort of lack of hierarchical humility has been around a long time.