MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Friday marked two years since President Barack Obama signed the health care reform law, and during this election year, the controversy surrounding it is far from over.

Supporters say the law expands coverage to millions of Americans and protects patients with pre-existing health problems. But opponents say it goes too far, forcing everybody to buy insurance while stepping on religious freedoms.

Some of those criticisms were raised in St. Paul Friday afternoon, when Pro-life Ministries organized a rally on the plaza of the Warren E. Federal Building. Hundreds of people were bussed in for the rally, and parents and children held signs that reading: “Stop the Mandate” and “Stand Up for Religious Freedom”.

The rally was one of 140 held in cities across the U.S.

The protesters are unhappy specifically with the part of the act that mandates hospitals and universities to offer free contraception, despite religious beliefs.

Organizer Brian Gibson said Obama’s healthcare law is a direct attack on the First Amendment.

“It is requiring people of faith do something that is in direct contradiction to their deeply held beliefs,” he said.

On the other side of the debate, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was also in Minnesota on Friday.

Sebelius, along with Gov. Mark Dayton, Congresswoman Betty McCollum, and Sen. Al Franken, met with nearly a dozen Minnesota women who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act.

Several of the women have children with chronic illnesses. They say health care reform saved their families financially, and one woman said it saved her daughter’s life.

Abby Schanfield is a student at the University of Minnesota who has a life-long medical condition called Toxoplasmosis. It’s affected her sight, and causes water to get on the brain. At one point, she was worried she’d have no insurance.

“That uncertainty…to turn a certain age and not be covered: it’s very scary,” Schanfield said.

She said she’s also relieved that when she turns 26, she’ll be able to get coverage because the act requires insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions. She says without the changes, it would be a great challenge.

Next week the Supreme Court plans to hear arguments challenging the constitutionality of the health care law.

A Washington Post poll found that 67 percent of Americans think the court should strike it down or at least repeal the part that requires citizens to buy insurance.

All of the Republican presidential candidates have promised to do away with the health care law.

Comments (29)
  1. Kevin says:

    Four more tears! Four more tears!

  2. Fresno says:

    Abbey will be happy to know that MN already had laws that greatly limited any pre-existing condition exclusions by health care companies. Without Obamacare she would get the same type of coverage for her condition. With Obamacare, she will pay significantly more for the same coverage.

    1. careforall says:

      Fresno – really, what are those laws and what is the basis for stating she would have to pay more let alone “significantly” more. Sounds to me like you’re just another sheep in the herd that has no idea what is in the law and what isn’t.

    2. Sam says:

      As someone who has worked in the healthcare industry and watched insurance companies deny covering conditions because of pre-existing conditions, I’ve got to disagree with you on the pre-existing condition exclusions. Fresno.

      And as someone whose insurance premiums have leveled off in the past two years, I’ve got to disagree with you on the cost thing.

      Lastly, since the current Health Care Reform Act is something that was put together by the Legislative Branch, rather than the Presidential Branch, and since it’s not what Obama was pushing for, calling it “Obamacare” is disingenuous. Why not call it by its title? Is it that the only way you can attack it is with schoolyard tactics?

  3. not quite says:

    Fresno, most people haven’t a clue what’s really in the law. Do people really think thousands of pages of law and many, many more thousands of pages of regulations are covered in five talking points? I wish I was that dense and carefree.

  4. Fred Hayek says:

    You mean 0bamacare.

  5. Dale Gribble says:

    See how the illegal alien Muslim terrorist in the Whilte House and the criminal DFL destroy our Liberty!!!! They force our sons to be gay and the force our daughters to have abortions. They will not rest until they have Sharia Law and United Nations rule!!

  6. Susan Stanich says:

    I was at the “Stand Up for Religious Freedom” rally in St. Paul today. There were not just hundreds, but more like 2500 people at the Burger Bldg. I wish media would report more on what the speakers had to say and not about only those afraid of losing health care. Shouldn’t the reform be about providing coverage for the needy without forcing religious institutions to provide goods and services that go against thier faith? By the way, pregnancy is not a desease and nobody should be forced to pay for someone else’s lifestyle.

    1. Dale Gribble says:

      Finally a decent woman who stands up for White Christian America and our Freedoms, instead of those harlots Obammy supports!!!

      1. Bunny says:

        Do you feel that no women is decent and Christian unless she is white ? ? ?

    2. Atheist says:

      Pregnancy is a “lifestyle”?

      ” without forcing religious institutions to provide goods and services that go against thier faith?”

      When “religion” goes against other faiths, or in my case..reason, is that not persecution? Also, HOW is providing health care and “services” going against religion? I thought that nice hippy guy you guys liked went around with a prostitute and healed people for free?

      Your morals are lacking when you think that you should be exempt from helping people prevent a “lifestyle”.

      1. Way Cooler than Atheist says:

        I don’t know what Atheist’s favorite band is, but they’re terrible. I want to wear a shirt to say how terrible his favorite band is. I also want to keep reminding him how bad that band really is. The fact that he likes that band causes unfair harm to everyone who likes good bands. Only a loser would like that band.

  7. Sorry About Your Future, Kids says:

    If the Commerce Clause is held to permit the federal government to force people to purchase a product like health insurance, what would prevent the federal government from deciding kids with high test scores shall go to college and lower test scores will go to trade schools? Higher education is an interstate marketplace and there are huge public and social costs associated with people going to the wrong schools. Wouldn’t an independent bureaucracy be best suited to increase our overall efficiency as a country? Couldn’t they reduce unemployment if they just assigned us jobs, too?

    How fast we have careened toward this politburo. If only Gorbachev were still around to ask Mr. Obama to “Tear down this wall.”

  8. Deblette says:

    The people who do not understand that this mandate is a direct attack against our constitutional rights are those who years from now will wonder how our country became a totalitarian dictatorship. The constitiution is very clear on religious liberty. In fact, it is the very first thing mentioned, that is how important it is to our freedom. When did the people of this country become such sheep that they would sell out their freedom for the cost of free birth control and abortions? I cringe at the thought of how many American lives were lost to protect our freedoms and how worthless we make them when we throw it away without a cry of protest. I am very proud of the couple thousand people that came out today, with their children, to show their pride at being an American. An American who is not willing to let their freedom be co-opted by the likes of Obama.

  9. angus says:

    If the churches are so involved in politics, why not have them pay taxes? Stop their free ride.

    The Bible says to take care and help the poor, the aged, etc. Somehow the conservatives forget that when it will cost them money. They have other excuses but it really is about money from their pocket.

    Reading the blogs from the far right they are more scarey tham Islamic terrorists. The far right uses religion and wave the flag to cover their motives

    1. Balanced Beam says:

      Here’s the fallacy of your argument, Angus. The Bible says to care for the poor, the aged, etc. It does not say collect up taxes from everyone else and create a huge public bureaucracy to take care of the poor. The role of private organizations for assisting the poor was much greater before the rise of the ever-growing, ever-hungry public assistance monster. Taking personal responsibility for assisting those in need becomes pushed out (look at Massachusetts defunding Catholic Charities. That was no accident.) in favor of public institutions that create dependance rather than offer assistance. If the government mowed your lawn, would you keep mowing it? No. You’d get rid of your mower and become dependent. Both the private donors and the recipients of “assistance” are now dependent on the government.

      It’s actually the Left that is the threat, and they are winning by stealth and determination. Total government control is great . . . as long as you agree with the government. But that changes. Then what?

    2. Susan Stanich says:

      All working citizens pay taxes, those who practice any faith and those who don’t. But those of faith and religious institutions provide more for the needy (and provide it more cost effectively) than any government agency. Hospitals, schools, soup kitchens, etc. many staffed with volunteers. Remember Katrina? And why would you want someone (government or whomever) to force you to buy a product that goes against your values? Even the Catholic Church does not MANDATE morality. They only suggest the best option according to their 2000 years of experience serving mankind.

    3. Deblette says:

      Free ride? Another one who knows not of what he speaks. Do you know that one out of every six people treated in a hospital in this country are treated in a Catholic hospital? Treated even if they have no insurance. Do you know that the Catholic Church saves the governement 9 billion dollars a year in education costs. Do you have a clue how many people the Church feeds, clothes and houses in a year? Do you know how most of that if funded? By Catholics. Regular working people who are taught that to give to the poor, the sick, the hungry is their duty as children of God, regardless of that persons religion or lack thereof. This HHS Mandate goes through and you will see the Catholic Church ONLY assisting those who are Catholic and the government, via YOUR taxes, will take up the slack. You don’t have a clue the free ride that is being given to many by the Catholic Church. It is done out of love. Jesus Christ’s followers have been taking care of the poor continuously for two thousand years and they will continue to do that long after this country is a fascist dictatorship. The Churches are not involved in politics, they are involved in the saving of souls. Just because the secular world has forgone all common sense and all morals, delights in the murder of the unborn, destroys the famly and hates all who love life, doesn’t mean the followers of Christ will every follow them. What makes you think that someone who believes in nothing but themselves has a right to a political voice, but those who believe in God do not? Wow. Talk about scary. The last allowed prejudice in this country, the hatred of Christians. Well guess what sweet heart. We aren’t going anywhere and now, we are ticked off and we are united. We are sick of this sick society. We shall be heard.

  10. Atheist says:

    “Stand Up for Religious Freedom”. Oh give me a break! I’m so tired of these people pandering “religious persecution” bull… There is a defined separation of church and state written in the constitution. NOT everyone has the same religion and if you assume that religion needs “its place” in government, realize HOW MANY RELIGIONS there are in the US. Christian, Catholic, Judaic, Muslim, Buddhist, Neo Paganism, Jedi..

    Wait. What? You think that ONLY CHRISTIANS MATTER??? The other religions aren’t important enough? Yet, you cry about religious persecution? You want the government to abide by ONE RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE while others conform to it without their say??


    1. Deblette says:

      I am really sorry that you are so ignorant regarding your own constitution. Please go read it. First, you will find NOTHING that says ANYTHING about a separation of church and state. Second, you will find that the first thing mentioned is the freedom of religion. Do you know why people came to this land mass to begin with? It was to escape religious persecution in England. Third, if you can find anything in the constitution that says there must be a separation of church and state, I will personally get down and kiss your feet. Okay. Religous freedom is for everyone, Christian, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, whatever. That is what it means.
      I will pray that maybe some day, you will open your heart to discovering the TRUTH instead of having to live in your empty, angry world of hate.
      You kind of are a perfect example of those taking in Wisdom, chapter 2. God bless you.

      1. Raoul Duke says:

        The Constitution does state that there shall be no religious tests to hold office. It also states that there shall be no official, established religion. It sounds to me as if you are quibbling over semantics. Given the fact that people came here to escape religious persecution by the official state church in Britain, I doubt very much that they were interested in repeating that mistake here by declaring any religion official.

        1. Deblette says:

          Please provide the sections of the constitution you are referring to. The constitution was written to keep the government from forcing any specific religion on the people. Did you not study this in history class?

  11. Rauol Duke says:

    Article VI, para. 3, US Constitution reads: no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

    Perhaps YOU are the one who needs to study up.

  12. susanm2012 says:

    I was there at the rally too. It was a well organized peaceful rally. The reason for and focus of the rally was the that the lack of a concious clause in the HHS Mandate to provide free contraceptive coverage violates the First Amendment and religious freedom. There were at least 1200. The buses were organized by individuals and groups who planned to attend the rally. It was a good decison as it provided transportation, relieved traffic congestion and parking concerns. The writer of this article clearly showed her bias when reporting this story by using the term “hundreds” to diminish the number of attendees, clouding the focus, and presenting the attendees as people who were “bussed in” giving us a feel that they were somehow outsiders rather than average Minnesotans.

  13. Bunny says:

    Will our state come together and help these young mothers that have babies because they can not afford birth control? ? ? I am not talking about abortion for convenience . . . Birth control pills , patches, condoms, do not kill babies. . . Will anyone help the babies ? It takes a village ! ! !

    1. Deblette says:

      Churches are already out there helping women with unexpected pregnancies. You don’t know about it because the media is not going to ever look on that as news. Birth control may prevent some pregnancies, not all. In fact, the use of birth control leads to an increase in abortions because people falsly believe they are protected against pregnancy. (as if it were a disease) The only way to prevent pregnancy, is to not have sex. So, if you are not married and in a position to raise a child, refrain. It won’t kill you, it may actually give you some self respect.
      It is not the states business to take care of everybody. That is a socialist idea that only ends up removing the freedom from everybody. It does take a village and that is what you find in every Church parish community. Stop looking to the government to be your God.

  14. Equal health care for everyone says:

    The State of Minnesota and many other states mandate car insurance coverage. If you don’t have that coverage and can’t prove it, you get a ticket and have to appear in court with a copy of the insurance coverage or risk the consequences. The only question here should be can the federal government mandate insurance that states have mandated in other areas. The easiest thing to do is take the age limit off Medicare, adjust the premiums and the payroll tax deduction. 18,000 physicians have a website dedicated to getting this coverage for Americans.

  15. Deblette says:

    No, the question here is whether or not our government has the right to force people of conscience to purchase a product that goes against their faith and morals. It is a violation of the constitutional right to religious freedom. It does not compare to buying car insurance.

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