Freedom from Religion Foundation Urges Protests Against Religious Domination

The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) based in Madison, Wisconsin is pushing back against a new coalition, “Stand up for Religious Freedom,” led by the Pro-Life Action League and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, that is leading a nationwide rally June 8 to “stop the HHS mandate.” The religious groups oppose a provision in the Obama administration’s new health insurance law that requires most private health insurers cover FDA-approved prescription contraceptive drugs and devices, including the “morning after pill.” The Department of Health and Human Services’ so-called mandate includes an exemption for religious employers who object to contraception, and the rule does not apply to any churches, but that doesn’t go far enough for these organizations, which are trying to block all financial assistance with contraceptives. Moreover, the Catholic Bishops have introduced into Congress the so-called “Respect for Rights of Conscience Act,” which goes even further than banning financial help with contraceptives. The Bishops’ bill would allow any private employer with a “religious or moral objection” to veto coverage for specific treatments for employees. For example, an employer who is a Jehovah’s Witnesses could bar coverage of emergency blood transfusions for its employees, and a Southern Baptist or Mormon employer could deny prescription birth control to its single, female employees. FFRF says the national “Stand Up for Religion” rally, planned for 12:00 noon local time across the country on June 8, “presents an opportunity for the freethought community to stand up for freedom from religion and “stop the war against reproductive choice.” FFRF urges people to counter-picket at these religious rallies by making their own protest signs, or printing out FFRF’s red, white and blue slogan. (See picture accompanying this blog post.) People can find out if there is a religious rally opposing contraception being held in their area by going to StandUpforReligion.com’s  web page listing rally locations.

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