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Protesters Pray for No Birth Control Mandate

More than 100 people gathered in St. Petersburg for a prayer rally to oppose a provision in President Obama's Health and Human Services Affordable Care Act.

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.”

Michael F Brennan March 24, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Dear Susan B Anthony, You were a very strong voice against abortions, and believed contraception was a control mechanism for men to take advantage of women making them prone to promiscuity. However that is a very outdated conviction. As we all know, 'you have come a long way, baby'. But we are talking about another matter. It is about your freedom and mine. 1. 80% of the 250 at the rally were women. They like to push a man to look like he is running something. Then, they organize and take over the event. Such is life in Americana. My father's experience was the same with my mother. The truth is I was reduced to being a 'pretty face'. 2. The Feds want to place the American bishops in the position of condoning the use of contraceptives, sterilizations & abortifacients. Bishops are consecrated to explain and protect Church Teaching. Like all humans, American Bishops can commit foul deeds even hypocrisy. The group is improving, but many were wanting in sound, holy leadership. Not all but enough to make it hurt. However, don't underestimate them when their vows to protect Church Teaching is attacked by government. They wear red to remind them they have promised God to be the 'Watchman' of biblical proportions. They are prepared for martyrdom. Closing institutions so government can own may be the HHS plan. 3. The Bishops support Obama, & no priest speaks to personal voting. Michael F Brennan Coordinator St Petersburg StandUpForReligiousFreedom.com
Deborah March 25, 2012 at 02:28 AM
To all the negative feedback people over a very positive and peaceful movement: 1. I am a woman and coordinated my own event in Temecula California. 2. Are people really that ignorant as to believe this is just a " religious" thing, let alone a catholic thing? I guess so according to all you folk. 3. Why don't you educate yourself before judging an outcome of an event you didn't even attend? 4. This isn't even about Obama anymore then it is all about the catholic church. 5. Read your constitution , and make no mistake, if the shoe was on the other foot, e.g. Religious leaders forcing government to prevent women from utilizing all birth control services, demanding to be removed off of the pharmaceutical shelves, guaranteed you would all be screaming for your rights as guaranteed under the same amendment we are today. 6. Another guarantee, when and yes I say when not if, the government chooses to chip away at rights you do hold valuable, better believe you will be wondering where all of us, who were defending your rights are, and asking us to stand with you. Let's hope, and yes PRAY, that we who see the whole picture, can stop this from happening now, so you can carry on with your freedoms!
Michael F Brennan March 25, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Thanks for your comment Deborah. As your comment documents, this issue draws the best and the brightest from our great country. Kristina Garza brought a large banner stating:: "YOU PAY FOR YOUR OWN CONTRACEPTION, WE DON'T WANT TO PAY FOR IT". From free pills at clinics to $9.00 a month at Walmart, drug stores, etc. it has not been the most difficult of financial burdens. Keep up your good work. Our Nation is worth the struggle.
Renee March 26, 2012 at 03:32 PM
The issue is that I can choose to contracept or not but I do not have a choice to pay money so that others can do so "freely". That is unconstitutional. That is my crazy dance. Today I have to participate in paying for something I do not believe in and tomorrow?...
Michael F Brennan March 26, 2012 at 07:48 PM
One needs to point out that the current updated article is correct, except it does not point out that Kristina Garza was on a public sidewalk outside the High School. The paranoia of the school administration does not trumph the public's Constituional rights on a public sidewalk. Kristina and the entire corps of heroines were not 'on campus'. That said, we appreciate a public in the know that The Patch tries to provide the American citizen.

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