More than 200 people from Riverside and San Diego counties attended a rally to protest the controversial Health and Human Services mandate on Friday afternoon at Temecula’s Ronald Reagan Sports Park.
“The reason we are opposed to this is because it impacts religious freedom,” John Sheridan, media coordinator at the rally said. “The Supreme Court will be making a decision at the end of the month on Obamacare.”
According to Sheridan, more than 150 rallies took place in cities across the country Friday.
The Health and Human Services mandate — which was introduced in January — would require all private health insurance companies to include coverage for prescription contraceptive drugs and devices, surgical sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs in their coverage, regardless of any moral or religious objections, according to a fact sheet.
The mandate, which was issued under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, could go into effect Aug, according to rally captain Deborah Cavanagh.
“I think slowly but surely they’re taking things away from us,” Sylvia King, 76, of Fallbrook said. “Abortion or anything that has to do with reproduction, (the) government has nothing to do with it — it’s between that person and a doctor.
“People came over to our county for religious freedom and God is very, very important to us and I feel they can’t take that away from us.”
According to lifenews.com, insurance plan enrollees may be charged $1 per month to pay directly subsidize abortions.
“There is free birth control (available),” Cavanagh said. “The problem is you should not make somebody else pay for it and make somebody (who) it is against their beliefs pay for it. It is an intrusion into our religious freedom.”
Fallbrook resident Connie Swanson, 50, doesn’t want to be involved in abortions, but by paying the insurance premiums, she feels she is.
“Well, I don’t want to be part of an abortion, but (this) makes me part of an abortion because I pay insurance premiums,” Swanson said while holding an American flag up high. “I think this could be the tip of the iceberg.”
One of Swanson’s concerns is about self-insured companies like most churches or companies.
“Within the church system, they will have to violate their conscience and I know many of the churches are self-insured, so what are they going to do?” Swanson said. “They are the insurance company and they will be directly paying for these things that are morally against what they preach, teach and try to live and that will completely destroy their testimony. If you don’t speak out, you’ll never be represented.”
Cavanagh said: “We are separated, church and state and we need to keep it that way.”
For more information, please visit www.standuprally.com.
Daniel Lane is a photojournalist and regular contributor to SWRNN.