Conservative organizations are planning to hold rallies on March 23rd across the country to “Stand up for Religious Freedom” and “Stop the HHS Mandate” on contraception coverage. Members of the new coalition include the Alliance Defense Fund, American Life League, Christian Defense Coalition, Concerned Women for America, Operation Rescue, Thomas More Society and various anti-choice groups, and they seek to organize demonstrations “outside federal buildings, Congressional offices and historic sites across the country.” In a statement responding to a conciliatory move by the administration which ensures that religious-based organizations won’t have to pay directly for contraceptives, rally organizers doubled down on their criticisms of the Obama administration and said that they are against the insurance mandate’s impact on “all businesses—not just religious institutions”:
“With their March 16 statement, President Obama and Kathleen Sebelius are once again pretending to accommodate employers’ conscientious objections to their HHS Mandate. The accounting tricks they’re proposing are nothing but smoke and mirrors. At the end of the day, employers are still forced to provide free contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs through their health plans,” said Eric Scheidler, co-director of the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rallies across the United States.
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.