More Than 54,000 Rally Against Obama HHS Mandate on Friday

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 26, 2012   |   1:02PM   |   Washington, DC

More than 54,000 pro-life advocates joined more than 140 rallies across the nation on Friday to rally for religious freedom and against the controversial Obama HHS mandate that requires religious groups to pay for birth control and drugs that may cause abortions.

Eric Scheidler, the director of the Pro-Life Action League and co-coordinator of the Stand Up for Religious Freedom rallies, said he was encouraged by both the number of participants and the high number of cities taking part in the event.

“When my Rally co-director Monica Miller and I originally conceived the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally, I was hoping for 50 cities to sign on. Monica, more optimistically, hoped for 100,” he said. “We launched the project with 30 cities, which quickly grew to 50, then 80, then 100. In the final week before the Rally, we topped 140, with cities coming on board up to the last minute. The final tally was 143 cities from Portland, Maine to Honolulu, Hawaii.”

“By that time the buzz surrounding the Rally was so great that I began to speculate that we just might top 10,000 participants across the country,” Scheidler, who was interviewed prominently on Fox News and other media outlets, added. “How little did I know what God had in store for this historic day.”

With 106 cities tallied, Scheidler said the count so far is 54,548 who participated. Below is the city-by-city rally for the numbers Scheidler has so far:

Akron 100
Allentown 600
Anchorage 50
Ann Arbor 1500
Athens 200
Atlanta 800
Austin 400
Bel Air 150
Birmingham 500
Bismarck 700
Boise 100
Buffalo 1000
Charleston 88
Charlotte 350
Charlottesville 200
Chicago 2500
Cincinnati 1000
Cleveland 1500
Concord 210
Corpus Christi 200
Dallas 800
Davenport 140
Dayton 200
Detroit 1000
Duluth 200
El Paso 500
Ellicott City 250
Eugene 200
Evansville 500
Fort Lauderdale 300
Fort Wayne 350
Fort Worth 500
Freeport 260
Front Royal 200
Garden City 100
Goshen 400
Grand Rapids 500
Green Bay 300
Greenville 100
Harrisburg 150
Hartford 600
Honolulu 205
Houston 1200
Howell 550
Indianapolis 700
Jackson 500
Jacksonville 800
Kalamazoo 300
Kansas City 250
Kenai 24
Lake Havasu 70
Las Vegas
Lexington 100
Los Angeles 600
Madison 500
Marion 108
Miami 500
Milwaukee 350
Minneapolis-St. Paul 2200
Muncie 150
Murrieta 350
Nashville 500
New Braunfels 400
New Haven 200
New Orleans 850
New York City 900
Norfolk 300
Norwich 50
Omaha 1000
Orlando 300
Owensboro 300
Pensacola 210
Philadelphia 2300
Phoenix 1000
Pierre 55
Pittsburgh 500
Portland 300
Portland 200
Providence 100
Reading 130
Reno 350
Richland 100
Roanoke 100
Rochester 600
Rockford 800
Saginaw 100
Salt Lake City 100
San Antonio 800
San Diego 2000
San Francisco 1200
Sarasota 1000
Scranton 500
Seattle 800
South Bend 550
St. Cloud 400
St. Petersburg 250
Tacoma 500
Toledo 1000
Traverse City 85
Trenton 800
Tucson 300
Uvalde 83
Valparaiso 250
Ventura 260
Washington DC 2000
Wichita 500
Williamsport 120
Winston-Salem 250

Despite the high expectations for the event, Matthew Balan said the pre-event media coverage was nonexistent.

ABC, CBS, and NBC covered the far-left Occupy Wall Street movement with glee during 2011, devoting 33 stories on the air during the first eleven days of October alone to publicizing the protests. However, the Big Three networks have yet to mention the planned demonstrations in 140 cities across the U.S. today at noon local time against the Obama administration’s sterilization, abortifacient, and contraception mandate.

The Coalition to Stop the HHS Mandate, which is being coordinated by the Illinois-based Pro-Life Action League; and includes multiple pro-life, social conservative, and religious groups, including Human Life International, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the Alliance Defense Fund, and Priests for Life; have organized the “Stand Up For Religious Freedom” rallies “in defense of religious freedom and STAND UP against the Obama administration’s HHS mandate at federal building in cities across the country.”

Back on October 5, 2012, NBC’s Brian Williams celebrated the arrival of the Occupy movement, describing it as a “massive protest movement” that “could well turn out to be the protest of this current era.” One might expect that rallies in 140 cities against the federal government might be describe, at the very least, as a large movement. But given that the media have ignored the annual March for Life in Washington, DC, where tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people protest against abortion, it will not be a complete surprise if the Big Three minimize or omit covering the pro-religious freedom demonstrations.