SOUTH BEND—A large crowd rallied Friday at Jon R. Hunt Plaza as part of a nationwide network of protests against the federal mandate that insurers provide birth control in all employer health plans, even those at many religious organizations.
Men, women and children of all ages nearly filled the plaza at noon in
front of the Morris Performing Arts Center, and, despite sprinkling
rain, remained there for more than an hour to pray and listen to
It was just one of the “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” events held
Friday in about 140 cities across the United States.
The protests were scheduled to coincide with the two-year anniversary
since President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, but they
also represent a feeling among some people that religion is losing its
place in American society.
“I hope someone is listening,” said Tom Uebbing, a South Bend resident
who organized the downtown rally. “I know Almighty God is.”
In January, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced
that the new health care law requires employer health plans, including
those at many religious charities, hospitals, schools and
universities, to offer free contraception.
Tom Gill, president of St. Joseph County Right to Life, said the
exemption for faith-based employers is so narrow that “Jesus and his