Proclaiming that "motherhood is not a medical condition," a speaker at a rally Friday against the Affordable Care Act urged President Obama not to treat pregnancy like a "disease."
“Let us be clear, pregnancy is not a disease, fertility is not an illness, and motherhood is not a medical condition," said Kristina Garza of Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, speaking to more than 100 people.
"Contraception is not preventive care, and abortion-inducing drugs are not health care,” said Garza, who is campus outreach director for the group.
The protesters had gathered at two street corners along a busy commercial highway in St. Petersburg to pray and rally against Obama’s Health and Human Services Affordable Care Act. March 23 was the second anniversary of the President's Affordable Care Act.
The act requires insurers to cover birth control and other reproductive services.
The rally was one of several “Stand up For Religious Freedom” protests held Friday, in U.S. cities that included Minneapolis, New Orleans and Buffalo, NY.
Garza told the St. Petersburg crowd that the mandate requires all health-care employers to provide contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs for free under the title of preventive care.
The Obama Administration softened its stance this week, stating that insurers, not employers, will have the mandate. But that has not appeased many protest groups.
Garza was joined by other protesters chanting “Give me liberty or give me death.” They lined 4th Street North, at the corner of 22nd Avenue North, waving flags and passing out pamphlets about the health-care mandate.
They complained that the mandate violates religious freedom since it requires all employers to abide by the rule, regardless of whether it goes against their beliefs.
The Obama Administration has been in talks this week with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which opposes the mandate, to see if there are ways to modify the act, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
In response to the protests, Protect Your Care and Planned Parenthood issued a statement. The protesters fail to recognize that contraception actually saves lives, according to Planned Parenthood.
“These rallies are being led by extremist groups far outside the mainstream and who have a long history of attacking birth control,” said Wendy Grassi, Director of Public Affairs at Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida.
Garza’s group, The Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, is a California-based mission group whose goal is to “bring the truth about abortion to college and high school campuses.”
Garza and another member of the Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust were arrested on March 6 in Jackson, Miss., on the sidewalk in front of Murrah High School after passing out pamphlets and holding large signs with images of aborted fetuses.
According to WLBT in Mississippi, Garza was arrested after school officials said she and others interfered with a school bus driver and jeopardized students' safety.
The TV station said that the group was warned the day before that if they protested on campus they would be arrested.
On Friday in St. Pete, Garza said Obama and his administration are anti-American.
“The Obama administration is not only the most anti-life, pro-abortion and anti-faith administration that our nation has seen,” Garza said. “They are out-rightly anti-American as they seek to override our first amendment right to practice religious activities.”
Grassi said a majority of Americans support greater access to birth control and contraceptives.
Darden Rice, Florida Communications Director of Protect Your Care said, “There is widespread public support for birth control and for the President’s announcement that ensures women have access to birth control with no costly co-pays, regardless of where they work.”