Local Religious Leaders Protest Health Care Reform Act

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Several hundred people gathered outside of San Francisco’s Federal Building Friday afternoon to protest part of the Health Care Reform Act.

More than a dozen speakers, many of them local religious leaders, spoke out to say that the reform act violates their religious freedom.

“This isn’t about Catholics. This isn’t about contraception. This is the first shot over the bow of religious freedom,” said Mary Beth Bonacci who MC’d the event.

The Supreme Court hears arguments next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday based on 26 states’ assertions that the legislation is unconstitutional.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

Protest organizer Walter Hoye, president and founder of the California Civil Rights Foundation and member of the Progressive Missionary Baptist Church in Berkeley, said opponents believe part of the reform act violates their First Amendment rights to religious freedom.

“For so many of us, abortifacient contraception violates our own conscience and to be forced to participate in that is not something we’re going to take lightly,” Hoye said.

Hoye is looking forward to having his voice heard and is praying the Supreme Court stands true to the constitution.

An exemption by President Barack Obama for churches is not enough protesters said. Employees would still have access to such services through religious institutions’ insurers.

Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi attended two events in San Francisco to mark the two-year anniversary of the signing of the health care reform act. She said she’s confident at the laws’ chances in the courts.

“We believe that we knew what we were doing when we wrote the bill. Most lawyers that are reviewing it are saying that it is a constitutional act,” Pelosi said.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)

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