MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski stepped into the middle of a political firestorm surrounding the health care of women Friday when he holds two rallies to oppose the Health and Human Services mandate that makes employers provide free contraceptives and other women’s health services.

Archbishop Wenski held a rally in both Miami and Fort Lauderdale Friday. The rallies are called the “Stand up for Religious Freedom Rally.”

“This is really about our religious freedom this is something that the Catholic Church has uphold and this is our belief and now we have an administration mandating that we provide something is against our moral conscience,” said protester Laurel Clark.

Fighting the mandate on contraception has put many groups, including the Catholic Church, at odds with many members in Congress and a majority of women. Polls taken after the mandate was announced found most Catholics agree with the mandate.

“I don’t have a problem with contraception for whoever believes in that, that’s fine. I don’t have a problem with it,” said protester Carl Lowell. “I don’t believe in it. I don’t believe that I should be forced by the government to make it available to people.”

After outcries from some religious groups, President Obama shifted the mandate saying it would no longer require religious groups to cover the services.

The dual rallies are sponsored by the ProLife Action League and the Citizens for a ProLife Society. The South Florida rallies are part of a national day of rallies in 133 cities and in 46 states.

Sponsors chose June 8 because it marked the 223rd anniversary of the introduction of the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution.


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