LGBTQ organizations, legal rights groups, and reproductive rights advocates rallied outside the White House on Friday to protest the Trump administration's latest attempts to use religious beliefs to justify discrimination and limit access to birth control.
Specifically, they gathered to oppose President Donald Trump's recent decision to roll back the birth control mandate—jeopardizing access to contraception for millions of women—and a "religious freedom" memo from Attorney General Jeff Sessions declaring that the Justice Department will allow employers to use religious or moral beliefs as a defense against discrimination allegations.
Faith leaders, doctors, and leaders of various national organizations addressed the crowd gathered in D.C. Between speakers, those gathered chanted "not the church, not the state, women must decide our fate," and "our bodies, our lives, our right to decide!"
Rally participants included members of reproductive rights groups such as the National Abortion Federation and Planned Parenthood as well as major legal advocacy groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Health Law Program, and the National Women's Law Center, one of the event's main organizers.
LGBTQ organizations such the Human Rights Campaign and the National LGBTQ Task Force were also represented, as was Catholics For Choice, a group which believes "that the Catholic tradition supports a woman's moral and legal right to follow her conscience in matters of sexuality and reproductive health."
Rights groups shared images and updates from the rally on social media using the hashtags #HandsOffMyBC and #LicenseToDiscriminate.
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Religious groups and faith leaders who spoke at the rally argued that it is immoral to deprive women of access to contraception.
Some female members of Congress expressed solidarity with the protesters on Twitter.