Catholic rally protesting healthcare law at downtown courthouse - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Catholic rally protesting healthcare law at downtown courthouse

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) – A group of Catholics rallied at the courthouse in downtown Toledo over the Obama administration's birth control mandate. The rally was one of about 150 happening across the nation, all part of a grassroots campaign against parts of the Affordable Care Act, which some feel infringes on religious freedom.

Hundreds came for the afternoon rally, which was a mix of patriotism and prayer. The rally was called "Stand up for Religious Freedom" and is in response to the healthcare act: The Affordable Care Act of 2010. The rally was religious in nature with an opening and closing prayer on the agenda. While there was a strong Catholic presence, other religious leaders showed support too.

Protesters believed a health and human services mandate under the Affordable Care Act infringes on religious freedom by requiring healthcare coverage for things such as contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs. They also said the law's religious exemption is too narrow and does not include some areas of ministry.

In February, President Obama announced a compromise in which insurance providers, rather than religious employers, would pay for the coverage. Still, protesters said the compromise is not enough and it still requires health plans to provide free coverage of contraception.

Ultimately, it comes down to a fight about religious freedom and First Amendment rights.

"It's just very important that we makes ourselves known. This is what this is about: religious freedom. It's not about the war on women like they wanna say. It's about religious freedom. If they come after us, who are they coming after next?" explained protester Lynn Weisenburger.

There were a number of speakers set to take the stage Friday afternoon, mostly people associated with the Diocese of Toledo. Bishop Leonard Blair has been an outspoken opponent of the mandate and was among those scheduled to address the crowd.

While mostly peaceful, not everyone was there in support. One man even interrupted the bishop's speech. But mostly, the crowd united together against the health care mandate.

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