Rally for Religious Freedom in Bel Air Friday
Bel Air is expected to participate in the nationwide rally.
Nationwide, a rally against a new law that requires employers, including religious institutions, to provide contraceptives to employees through their health care plans, is set for Friday.
Bel Air is among the towns and cities expected to participate, according to the "Stand Up for Religous Freedom" website. The rally begins at noon outside the Harford County Circuit Court building at 20 West Courtland St.
In January, Catholic leaders in Maryland criticized the Obama administration for implementing the law that requires religious employers to offer health plans covering contraceptives without co-pays or deductibles.
But the Department of Health and Human Services stated that the new rule "Ensures that women with health insurance coverage will have access to the full range" of all "FDA-approved forms of contraception."
Nonprofit and religious employers have until Aug. 1, 2013 to comply with the new law.
“The [Health and Human Services] mandate actually seeks to define what constitutes religious ministry in its narrowly crafted so-called exemption. This sort of government intrusion must be opposed. This is not about the issue of contraception—this is about protecting religious liberty as it is guaranteed in the United States Constitution," Bel Air rally organizer Paula Hoppel said in a press release.
The rally is designed to protest the government's definition of religious institutions, and the requirement that all businesses and "facilitate contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs," despite moral positions, the release states.
The same release contends requiring contraceptives for free in healthcare plans treats of pregnancy and childbirth as a disease.