Thousands join grassroots women’s movement opposing HHS mandate
The Women Speak for Themselves movement is driven by “things that women are deciding to do on their own,” said Meg McDonnell, who has been assisting the group from early in its existence.
McDonnell told CNA on Sept. 20 that the movement has received “hundreds of e-mails” about women’s efforts to defend religious freedom, including prayer campaigns, local rallies, blog posts, discussions with elected representatives, voter registration drives, billboards and letters to the editor.
The movement began in February, when George Mason law professor Helen Alvaré and former Thomas More Law Center counsel Kim Daniels wrote a letter responding to the controversial federal mandate that requires employers to offer free contraception, sterilization and abortion-causing drugs in their health care plans, regardless of their religious and moral objections.
The open letter asked President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Kathleen Sebelius and members of Congress not to claim to speak for all women in promoting the mandate.
It criticized those who try to “shout down anyone who disagrees” with them by invoking “women’s health,” while ignoring the negative physical and social effects of contraception for women.
“No one speaks for all women on these issues,” the letter said. “Those who purport to do so are simply attempting to deflect attention from the serious religious liberty issues currently at stake.”
Within weeks, the letter was signed by thousands of women of various religious and political backgrounds who oppose the mandate. The letter is currently approaching 34,000 signatures. [More]