WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- More than 100 people, including those on both sides of the issue, let their voices be heard at a religious freedom rally on Friday.
Most demonstrators said a religious exemption to a federal mandate requiring employers to pay for contraception is too narrow.
The mandate from Health and Human Services doesn't allow Catholic institutions to deny employees contraception coverage. Many demonstrators called that a violation of their First Amendment rights of religious institutions.
"I feel very strongly about the First Amendment, and I don't think any government has the right to tell any religious institution what they should cover in their health plans," said Pattie Curran, who organized the rally.
"You give the government something, and it's just going to escalate. So we need to stand up before it gets even worse," said Grace Garner, who was part of the rally.
Many demonstrators said they know they can't do away with birth control, but they feel they can control who's buying it.
"You're free to go and purchase birth control for $9 a month at Target and Walmart, and you can also get it at free clinics," Curran said. "It's really not that expensive."
Most demonstrators said the rally's ultimate goal is to repeal President Barack Obama's entire health care plan, not just this particular mandate. Obama's health care plan became law two years ago on Friday.