KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Organized Rallies Around U.S. Decry Contraception Coverage Mandate

More than 100 organized rallies in states around the nation this weekend decried the Obama administration decision to require insurers and employers to cover contraception in their health plans as an attack on their religious freedom. 

CT Mirror:  Abortion To Be Considered Essential Health Benefit
While hundreds of Connecticut residents rallied in New Haven against abortion and federal requirements that religious organizations cover their employees' contraceptives, officials at the State Capitol complex took up a measure on whether the insurance everyone will have to purchase under the federal health law will cover the procedures. The panel unanimously decided that abortion is an essential benefit, and it will be covered in the plan they select (Thomas, 6/8).

The Associated Press: Nationwide Rallies Target Birth Control Measure
Demonstrators gathered on Capitol Hill Friday afternoon decried the Obama administration's policy to require private health insurance plans to cover contraception as a violation of religious freedom. The rally was affiliated with more than 100 other demonstrations under the same name taking place across the country. The issue has united multiple faiths, with evangelical, Orthodox Jewish, Roman Catholic and Mormon leaders recently forming networks in every state dedicated to promoting religious liberty, starting with their opposition to the mandate (Parnass, 6/8).

Arizona Republic: Abortion Foes Slam Arizona Clinics
A national anti-abortion organization this week targeted Arizona clinics in its latest videos, alleging that women are increasingly seeking abortions based on their unborn child's gender. Over the past year, abortion opponents have pushed the idea that sex-selection abortions are a growing trend in the U.S. and used the angle to propose both state and national legislation limiting abortion. But abortion defenders argue that there is no such trend, a contention most data supports (Rau, 6/8).

Arizona Republic: Rally Vs. Contraception Coverage In Phoenix
Derringer and an estimated 1,500 others gathered outside the Sandra Day O'Connor Federal Courthouse in downtown Phoenix to stand up for their religious freedom as Americans, organizers said. They celebrated House Bill 2625, which allows religiously affiliated employers in Arizona to opt out of covering birth control or other forms of contraception in their health-insurance plans if they have religious objects to it. The bill goes into effect on or after Aug. 2 (Stuckey, 6/9).

Des Moines Register: Rally At State Capitol Blasts U.S. Health Care Mandate
A rally for religious freedom held Friday at the Iowa Capitol drew at least 150 people and included a message read on behalf of Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds. "No person, elected body or institution should be allowed to strip us of (religious) freedom, and should they try, it is our responsibility to stand up to them," read Iowa Right to Life's Jenifer Bowen (Erzen, 6/8). 

Detroit Free Press: Masses Protest In Detroit, Say Health Care Law's Change In Birth Control Mandate Not Enough
More than 1,000 protesters rallied outside the federal building in Detroit on Friday to oppose the Obama administration's contraception mandate, saying their religious freedom is under attack. The rally, organized by Catholic leaders, was one of 13 in cities across Michigan and more than 140 others across the U.S. "Christians ... are a majority in this country," Teresa Tomeo, a Catholic author from St. Clair Shores, told the crowd. "We don't want this mandate." The protesters, many holding signs that read "Stop Obama's HHS Mandate," listened to a range of speakers, from professors to a Catholic bishop to Protestant pastors. "We will not comply," Professor Mary Healy of Sacred Heart Major Seminary said as the crowd cheered (Warikoo, 6/9).

Miami Herald: Miami Rally Defends Religious Freedom From Health Insurance Mandate
Waving American flags and thumbing rosary beads, a crowd of Miami's faithful gathered outside the federal courthouse on Friday to protest President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.
Nearly 400 people turned out for the rally that was part of the Stand Up for Religious Freedom movement, a loose coalition of religious and conservative entities that has organized simultaneous demonstrations in more than 160 U.S. cities (Edgerton, 6/8).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.