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Hundreds rally against contraception mandate at Mo. Capitol

Two rallies in Jefferson City today each called for the repeal of the 2010 Affordable Care Actand for employers to have the right to not provide coverage for birth control.

Several hundred people attended the rally held at the State Capitol, led by several religious leaders.  Maggie Karner with theLutheran Church-Missouri Synodtold the crowd that President Obama’s birth control mandate is an attack on religious freedom.

“This debate is simply about us being forced to pay for products and services that are contrary to our religious beliefs, and we cannot be expected to check our faith at the door," Karner said.

Robert Carlson, the Catholic Archbishop of St. Louis, blasted both the mandate and the president’s compromise that followed, in which insurance companies for religious employers will provide contraceptive services.

“There is no free lunch…these drugs are not free," Carlson said.  "Somebody has to pay for them, and if the insurance company has to provide them, the cost will be passed on to the consumer one way or another.”

The other rally took place at a hotel a few blocks from the Capitol.  It featured Tea Party activists and a number of Republican officeholders.


Meanwhile, legislationthat would bar forced coverage for birth control, abortion, and sterilizationhas received first-round approval in the Missouri Senate.  Democrats spent most of the day blocking the bill, then ended their filibuster shortly before 4:00 p.m.  

When the rally at the State Capitol ended, participants who exited from the south side encountered more than a thousand labor union members holding a rallyto oppose legislation that would suspend the prevailing wage law in Joplin and other parts of the state hit by natural disasters.

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Missouri Public Radio State House Reporter Marshall Griffin is a proud alumnus of the University of Mississippi (a.k.a., Ole Miss), and has been in radio for over 20 years, starting out as a deejay. His big break in news came when the first President Bush ordered the invasion of Panama in 1989. Marshall was working the graveyard shift at a rock station, and began ripping news bulletins off the old AP teletype and reading updates between songs. From there on, his radio career turned toward news reporting and anchoring. In 1999, he became the capital bureau chief for Florida's Radio Networks, and in 2003 he became News Director at WFSU-FM/Florida Public Radio. During his time in Tallahassee he covered seven legislative sessions, Governor Jeb Bush's administration, four hurricanes, the Terri Schiavo saga, and the 2000 presidential recount. Before coming to Missouri, he enjoyed a brief stint in the Blue Ridge Mountains, reporting and anchoring for WWNC-AM in Asheville, North Carolina. Marshall lives in Jefferson City with his wife, Julie, their dogs, Max and Mason, and their cat, Honey.