Religious Freedom Rallies to Sweep America from Coast to Coast October 20

Chicago—During last week’s debate, Vice President Joe Biden denied that the Obama administration’s HHS Mandate will require religious employers to provide contraceptives through their health plans—an outright falsehood that was quickly denounced by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has been fighting the Mandate since it was announced earlier this year.

Organizers of the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally, being held at sites across the country on Saturday, October 20, say Biden’s remarks show just how urgently this kind of grassroots opposition to the HHS Mandate is needed.

These “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” rallies will take place in over 140 cities coast to coast, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Miami, Kansas City, and Minneapolis. The nationwide campaign is being sponsored by the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Coalition. A complete list of rally locations is available at StandUpRally.com.

Tens of thousands of citizens are expected to take part in these peaceful, non-partisan demonstrations at local federal buildings, court houses, Congressional offices, city parks, and churches, and include religious and community leaders. In March and June of this year, over 300 Stand Up for Religious Freedom rallies took place, drawing over 125,000 participants.

The HHS Mandate was implemented in August under a provision of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) that empowers the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to mandate that certain preventive services be provided free of copays in employer health plans. Under the HHS Mandate, all employers, even religious institutions, are now required to offer free contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-inducing drugs to their employees.

“I was stunned when I heard Vice President Biden claim that religious institutions like Catholic Charities don’t have to provide contraceptive coverage in their health plans,” said Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League and one of the co-directors of the Stand Up for Religious Freedom rallies. “I don’t know whether the vice president was outright lying or if he really doesn’t understand the HHS Mandate, but the fact is that employers are being forced to violate their consciences—and the doctrines of their faith—by providing contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs in their health plans. At Saturday’s rallies, we will be calling on the American people to vote for candidates committed to overturning the HHS Mandate and restoring religious liberty in America.”

“Inexpensive contraception is already widely available in this country,” said Monica Miller, executive director of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society and also a co-director of the October 20 event. “There was no need to force religious employers to provide it in their health plans—but apparently the Obama administration does see a need to deny that’s what’s happening. They know that Americans cherish their religious freedoms, and Biden’s false statements in last week’s debate show they’re worried how this controversy will impact the election. They should be.”

Rally organizers are available for media interviews, nationally or in specific markets. To make arrangements, contact Tom Ciesielka at TC Public Relations, 312-422-1333 or tc@tcpr.net.

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