People Protest Contraceptive Mandate in GI

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About a dozen people line Highway 30 near downtown Grand Island Friday protesting the proposed contraceptive mandate.

Wauneta McGowan joined about a dozen other people at the impromptu rally who say they're worried about the direction the US government is heading. McGowan says they don't want a contraceptive mandate to be enacted that would require employers, even religiously affiliated ones, to have health insurance plans that cover birth control for women.

"We need to realize that our religious freedoms are in jeopardy," says McGowan. "The First Amendment that guarantees us freedom of religion and worship, [President] Obama and [HHS Secretary] Sebelius are trying their best to do away with it."

Officials at the Central Health Center in Grand Island say they support all access to birth control.

"I believe it would be very helpful if insurance coverage would cover contraceptive methods for women," says Susan Goodman, Community Education Outreach Manager at Central Health Center in GI. "Nearly all sexually active women will rely on birth control at some point in time in their lives."

Goodman says birth control isn't just for not having children - she says it can help women manage other health conditions too.

"Birth control is actually a form of basic health care for women, it helps them take charge of their health," she says.

But Friday's protesters say it's just another thing the federal government is forcing on them. They say even if others don't agree with them, they hope they'll be aware of the issues and stay informed.