Hundreds protest HHS contraception decision

By: Ian Hest

Protestors are upset because the rule requires some religious institutions to cover contraception for employees. Others argue the requirement is a good thing, and ultimately will help women be healthier.

Hundreds shut down the street outside the Federal Building today to protest the Health and Human Services decision to require employers, even religious in nature, to cover birth control. While Churches and other religious institutions are exempt; others like Catholic Hospitals or Schools aren't, leading to the protest. Protestor Georgeanne Rashilla says, “The Catholic Hospitals and the Bishops are joining together and we will shut our doors rather than do something that is against the practice of our faith.”

Protestors also said they felt like religion in the United States is under attack, however not all agree. Planned Parenthood says covering contraception will be healthier for women. They released a statement saying, “These rallies are being led by extremist groups far outside the mainstream and who have a long history of attacking women's health. If they had their way, women would once again be forced to pay more for health care and get less for their health care dollars than men.”

One of the speakers was Nebraska Running Backs Coach Ron Brown, who made headlines recently when he supposedly represented the University at the Omaha City Council anti–discrimination hearing, but he made sure this time it was a little different. Coach Brown said, “I tell my running backs all the time. And by the way I do not represent the University of Nebraska here today.”  Brown said he wasn't told by the University that he could not speak. While he was listed in the program as the Assistant Football Coach for the University of Nebraska, and made several football references in his speech, he said there was there as a private citizen. Brown added, “They chose to list my job title not me so I can't be in control of that. I just have to make sure that I'm not representing the University of Nebraska which I did.”