Hundreds rally at HHS headquarters protesting contraceptive mandate
Published: March 23, 2012
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- During a noon rally March 23 in front of the Washington headquarters of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, speakers reminded hundreds of participants that the event was merely a starting point in an ongoing protest against the federal health plan mandating contraceptive coverage by most religious employers. "You are part of history," a speaker told the crowd, noting that 140 other protest rallies were taking place at the same time across the country, organized by the Pro-Life Action League, based in Chicago, and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, based in Michigan. At several points during the nearly two-hour event on a warm Friday afternoon, the crowd chanted: "We will not comply!" The mantra was essentially the theme of the protest. Speeches throughout the rally stressed that the new health care law governing employer coverage of contraception and sterilization violated principles of religious freedom. The crowd included people of all ages, many of whom carried placards echoing their views such as: "A Child is a Blessing Not a Disease" and "Keep Your Wrongs Off Our Rights." Some crowd members held crosses or banners; others held rosaries and some waved U.S. flags. Before the rally started, most said they hailed from the Washington area but a handful said they came from Pittsburgh, Dallas and Boulder, Colo. "It's very important to be here," said Sister Maria Gonzalez, a Poor Sister of St. Joseph from Alexandria, Va., who fingered her rosary while clutching a banner that said: "Stop Obama's HHS Mandate." Rally participants responded with cheers and some "Amens!" when a speaker said she hoped the crowd was "energized to continue this fight."
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