Pro-Life Groups to Hold Nationwide Rally Against Obama Mandate

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 15, 2012   |   7:52PM   |   Washington, DC

Dozens of pro-life organizations across the nation are teaming up for a rally termed Stand Up for Religious Freedom to protest the mandate pro-abortion President Barack Obama put in place that forces religious groups to pay for birth control and drugs that may cause abortions.

On March 23 at Noon, concerned citizens will gather outside federal buildings in cities across the United States to rally in defense of religious freedom and stand up against the HHS Mandate.

“On January 20, the Obama administration made it clear that the new HHS mandate requiring employers to provide free contraceptives, sterilization and abortifacient drugs through their insurance plans would be imposed on religious institutions,” says Eric Scheidler of Pro-Life Action League, the main organization coordinating the rallies. “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.”

“Religious leaders across the country have been speaking out against the HHS Mandate, including 171 Catholic bishops, and numerous lawsuits have been filed by Catholic institutions,” Scheidler added. “And now it’s time for direct, grassroots activism.”

“The message is simple: The Obama administration’s HHS mandate violates our First Amendment right to free exercise of religion by forcing employers to pay for medications that violate their beliefs,” he said. [related]

The group is organizing rallies in dozens of cities for next month and are actively looking for local pro-life groups to head the effort in their hometowns. While organizing takes place, Scheidler and pro-life groups hope pro-life advocates will contact members of Congress to urge support for various efforts to stop the mandate.

More than 50 members of Congress banded together at a press conference today to demand legislation to stop the new mandate pro-abortion President Barack Obama put in place forcing religious employers to pay for insurance coverage including birth control and abortion-inducing drugs.

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry held a press conference today with supporters of the bipartisan, bicameral Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. His legislation would protect the religious liberty and conscience rights of every American who objects to being forced by the strong-arm of government to pay for drugs and procedures recently mandated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Rep. Chris Smith, the head of the Congressional Pro-Life Caucus said Obama’s slick public relations offensive on Friday contained neither an “accommodation” nor a compromise nor a change in his coercion rule.

“The final rule promulgated Friday remains a direct, obnoxious, unprecedented government attack on the conscience rights of religious entities and anyone else who for moral reasons cannot and will not pay for abortion inducing drugs—such as ella—or contraception and sterilization procedures in their private insurance plans,” Smith said. “Obama is arrogantly using the coercive power of the state to force faith-based charities, hospitals, and schools to conform to his will at the expense of conscience.”

H.R. 1179 enjoys the endorsements of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Right to Life Committee, Americans United for Life, and other organizations.  Numerous other organizations, including the Christian Medical Association and Family Research Council, have urged support of the bill.

The press conference comes as the U.S. Senate is expected to vote soon on an amendment that would stop the mandate President Barack Obama put in place to force religious groups to pay for insurance coverage that includes birth control and abortion-causing drugs.

Sen. Roy Blunt, a pro-life Missouri Republican, is putting forward the Blunt Amendment, #1520, again, and it is termed the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. The amendment would allow employers to decline coverage of services in conflict with religious beliefs.