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Ark. rally: 500 show to oppose birth control rule

About 500 people attended a rally Friday on the Capitol steps in Little Rock to protest an upcoming federal mandate that most institutions and businesses provide insurance plans that cover artificial birth control.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - About 500 people attended a rally Friday on the Capitol steps in Little Rock to protest an upcoming federal mandate that most institutions and businesses provide insurance plans that cover artificial birth control.

Several at the "Stand Up for Religious Freedom" gathering carried flags reading "Don't Tread on Me." The rally was among dozens nationwide.

As part of a broad overhaul of the nation's health care system, the U.S. Department of Human Services required nearly all employers to include artificial birth control in their insurance plans. Catholic bishops have filed lawsuits nationwide challenging the mandate, saying in infringes on their religious beliefs, and have rejected an Obama administration accommodation to shift the cost to insurance companies. People of other faiths have joined the protest.

"No other nation on earth has the words 'In God We Trust' as its official national motto. There is a reason that tyrants (and) dictators ... always go after religious freedom first. They know that faith in God sets men free," said Jerry Cox, the president of the Family Council, a Little Rock group.

Cox also said that when people get up on Sunday mornings and choose to either attend or not attend church, they should "remember those who fought ... to make that simple freedom of choice possible. Every generation has to stand up for its freedom."

Bishop Anthony Taylor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Little Rock said at the rally, "Civil law must never require what conscience forbids, nor forbid what conscience requires."

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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