Protesters across the nation plan to turn out Friday for the "Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally" against the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act. The rally comes as the Supreme Court is expected to deliver its decision this month on the constitutionality of the law dubbed Obamacare.
The Affordable Care Act, overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services, mandates that all institutions, including religious schools and hospitals, provide their employees and students with health care coverage for contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs, such as Plan B.
Religious organizations throughout the U.S. are protesting the HHS Mandate, arguing that it violates their religious freedom, as it forces those who are pro-life to go against their personal moral convictions.
"If the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare, the June 8 rally sets the agenda for future health care reform, demanding respect for religious liberty and freedom of conscience," states the "Stand Up For Religious Freedom Rally" website.
"But if the Court leaves Obamacare intact, the June 8 Rally advances our demand that the HHS Mandate must go," it adds.
The rally is being led by the Pro-Life Action League and Citizens for a Pro-Life Society.
Some critics, like the group American Atheists, say the "Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally" is lopsided and a sign of religious oppression.
"The rallies are not only a misnomer, but an insult to the secular principles embedded in our Constitution. These groups are not promoting freedom; they are using specific religious beliefs to restrict women's rights and access to healthcare. This is an attempt to enforce religious oppression by these groups and should not affect our public policy," AJ Johnson, Development Director of American Atheists, said in a statement.
"Mr. Johnson's remarks are inflammatory and misguided. The rallies themselves, are protected First Amendment speech and free exercise of religion. To suggest otherwise would be the real attempt at oppression," Aileen Blachowski, media spokesperson for the Orange County, Calif., "Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally," told The Christian Post Thursday,
"The aim of the rallies is not to deny anyone the right to ingest the hormones they want to, or undergo the surgeries they elect, but to avoid forcing one who does morally oppose these things to have to pay for them," she added.
The "Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally" is set to occur in 160 cities, including Los Angeles, New York City, Washington D.C., and Miami. A similar nationwide anti-Obamacare rally was held in March and, according to event organizers, 63,000 people in about 130 cities turned out to express their discontent with the HHS mandate.