March 23 is Stand up for Religious Liberty Day in Chicago and the nation.

President Obama’s HHS Mandate Sparks Nationwide Demonstrations

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!”

Go here for more details.

Here is the remainder of the press release describing the protest:

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 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’s 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, comprising dozens of local and national pro-life and pro-family organizations, to fight the HHS Mandate through direct action. The Coalition declares:

1.     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.

2.     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.

3.     We protest that the Mandate forcing all businesses—not just religious institutions—to provide coverage of contraception, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs, if even doing so violates to their own moral convictions on these matters.

4.     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.

Coalition members and more information about the Nationwide Rally for Religious Freedom—including rally sites coast to coast—can be found at

Contact Monica M. Miller: 248-444-9096,

Contact Eric J. Scheidler: 773-251-8792,
About Citizens for a Pro-life Society

Citizens for a Pro-life Society is an activist organization, founded on Catholic principles of morality and social justice, dedicated to advocacy of the sanctity of human life, especially protection of the right to life of unborn children. They organize public demonstrations, educational programs, literature distribution, and conferences, and offer mothers in crisis pregnancy material and spiritual aid. For more information, go to
About the Pro-Life Action League

The Pro-Life Action League was founded by Joe Scheidler in 1980 with the aim of saving babies from abortion through direct action. Not content to await a political or judicial solution to abortion, the League seeks to stop the killing of unborn children right now through all available peaceful means, including public protest, sidewalk counseling, education, youth outreach and national leadership.
Contact:   Monica Migliorino Miller   248  444-9096

Eric Scheidler    773  251-8792

or  Tom Ciesielka, 312-422-1333



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  • Fighting contraception is a LOSING ISSUE for the GOP, even if you try to wrap it up in the "religious liberty" argument. Ain't gonna, fly , my friend.

  • How do we get it through some heads that the central fight is over government (i.e. Obama) directing a church to do something in direct violation of the first right enumerated in the Bill of Rights? I'm afraid, though, that you're right; the issue is too nuanced for some folks to understand.

  • unfortunately, too many people want to make it a fight between obama and the church when that isn't the case, at least as far as the healthcare mandate is concerned.

    the catholic church is an employer of individuals who may or may not hold the same ideals as the church. with that being the case, do the rights of the catholic church, as an employer, supersede the those of the individuals it employs? does the catholic church, or any employer, have the right to dictate personal morality to its individual employees?

    while so much energy is being wasted on ancillary arguments and hyperbole, perhaps if the debate were centered on the rights of the individual versus that of an organization, be it religious or non-religious, people may be able to reach an agreeable solution.

  • In reply to misterchi:

    The scary thing is that many people are looking at this argument as a "right of the individual" over the "right of the church". What is ridiculous about this is that nowhere in the Constitution does it gaurantee an individual the right to have contraceptives provided for free from their employer (I know, the Constitution is a living document, therefore, if we want that right there than it is there). On the other side, the "free exercise of religion" is explicitly gauranteed by the Constiution in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights (I know, there I go being a reactionary again. How foolish of me to consider the actual text rather than the 'spirit' of the text.)

    What I find most ironic, is that people that support the federal government mandating contraceptive coverage by hospitals and non-profits operated by churches, were very much oppossed to the "Faith Based Initiative" instituted by the Bush administration. The irony, is that the Left argued that the Faith Based Initiative violated the separation of church and state, because, although, the administration was giving federal funds only to non-profits operated by churches (and not churches, themselves) that provided service to the community (soup kitchens, literacy classes, etc.) without preference for religious affiliation, these groups were guided by the church's religious mission, and therefore, were fundamentaly a part of the church.

    Now that this interpretation no longer suits the Left, they want to force these groups to pay for forwarding their social agenda.

  • In reply to montclareresident:

    you're over-complicating, fuzzying up and politicizing the argument. there are thousands of rights not spelled out in the constitution, i have neither the time nor the inclination to argue them point by point. the only left or right i care about is that you signal when you're making a turn.

    now, if you read what i wrote, i am speaking about the right that the individual has to be treated fairly by the employer. mr. byrne and certain people believe that, under the first amendment, certain employers may decide that it is not obligated to do so in all case.

  • Your argument would be more persuasive if religious protections were not a part of the Bill of Rights. That means that the Catholic church, or any other denomination that has the same objections to the HHS regulations, is not just another employer in the eyes of the law. It is protected by the First Amendment. The "rights of the individual versus the rights of an institution" argument is not persuasive. The "institution" does not exist as a stand-alone creation of some sort, separate and apart from individuals. It is an expression of collective individuals who have rights that are endowed by the Constitution.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    that's an interesting view. individuals a-z may determine which rights individual 1 may or may not have because individuals a-z's rights are protected by the first amendment, regardless of the rights of individual 1.

    that is a very persuasive argument.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    I don't believe the religious protections apply this broadly, Dennis. As I understand the HHS regulation, religious institutions as religious instituions per se are exempt from the HHS mandate. This is reasonable. It is only ANCILARY NON-RELIGIOUS BUSINESSES that are non-exempt. This is a justifiable distinction. These ancillary businesses are not part of any liturgical, worship, religious function.

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