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Protesters fight against cont­raceptive mandates

People say they're worried about losing freedoms

SAN ANTONIO - San Antonio protesters gathered on Main Plaza Saturday to rally against what they call violations of their First Amendment rights.

George Rodriguez is the President of the San Antonio Tea Party. He says President Barack Obama's mandate that religious institutions must provide contraception in their insurance plans for employees is an example of how the government is overstepping its boundaries.

"We are supporting the First Amendment and we are supporting religious freedom," he said.

The soggy morning on the Plaza almost symbolized the protesters' sentiments that the government is dampening their rights as Americans.

"We are not against the information on birth control," Rodriguez said. "We are against the government telling people that they have to do this, and that they have to do that. That is not the role of the government."

People like Art Martinez De Vara, Mayor of Von Ormy, say there is no room for compromise on the issue. That, they say, would be surrendering their constitutional rights.

"The First Amendment's very clear that the federal government is prohibited from interfering with the free exercise of religion and for the government to attempt to force a religious institution to act in direct opposition to its moral teachings is clearly prohibited by the First Amendment," he said.

But some groups, like the American Civil Liberties Union, say each time entities are allowed to deny contraceptive coverage, the religious beliefs of others are being imposed on women.

They say it is then that gender quality is undermined.

Republican leaders are doing more than protesting. Lawmakers in states like Idaho, Missouri and Arizona are filing bills that would allow insurance companies to ignore the new federal rules.


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