Two Illinois Democrats joined women's health advocates at a rally in a packed Loop auditorium Friday to express concerns over threats to restrict access to birth control.
About 150 people joined the demonstration at First United Methodist Church, including U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley and Jan Schakowsky, who were both guest speakers, CBS Chicago reports.
The public event, called "Women Speak Out for Birth Control, also included testimony from Dr. Tara Kumaraswami, an obstetrician, who described the huge impact contraception access has on her patients' lives, according to a press release from Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, which helped organize the event.
Kumaraswami said that access to birth control allows women "to plan and space pregnancies so that they can continue their educations, pursue their careers, support their families, and achieve their life goals. We can’t underestimate the contributions women have made to their families, their workplaces, and our society because they can decide when to have children."
[See a transcript of Kumaraswami's speech here.]
The rally was motivated by push back from religious organizations against a decision from the Obama Administration that would require religious-affiliated employers to cover FDA-approved contraceptives in their insurance plans for employees.
Quigley and Schakowsky both expressed support for Obama's mandate.
"It is inconceivable to me--in the year 2012--that there should be any controversy about access to contraception," said Schakowsky, according to a release on her website.