The media has proclaimed that conservatives and proponents of religious liberty are engaging in a "war against women." Conservatives, so the narrative goes, fired the first shots by opposing funding of contraceptives and abortifacients under the HHS Mandate, which will go into effect Jan. 1, 2014.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) first claimed Republicans were engaging in a "war against women" in 2011, and the networks have followed suit, claiming that the GOP was trying to "limit women's access to contraceptives and abortion."
But hundreds of women met to host a "Women Speak for Themselves (WSFT) rally outside the White House on Aug. 1, 2013 to protest the HHS Mandate and what the media say about women's rights.
According to the group's press release, "WSFT is a grassroots coalition of more than 40,000 women from many religions, political backgrounds, and states, who stand for religious freedom and against the simplistic notion that women's freedom is grounded in contraception and abortion."
The protesters had much to say about the media's treatment of religious liberty, calling them out as administration cronies and for their "shameful" and "one-sided" coverage of the HHS Mandate. (It should be noted that, besides the Media Research Center's (MRC) Culture and Media Institute and CNSNews.com, there was just one other video camera at the event.)
Dr. Grazie Christie, an advocate for religious liberty and board member of The Catholic Association, told MRC's Katie Yoder in an interview, "This is not a war on women, because it's not a war on healthcare for women, because contraception isn't healthcare." Christie has been interviewed on CNN Espanol on the importance of religious liberty to Latinos, and gave an interview to Univision after her speech at the rally.
The MRC also spoke with Helen M. Alvare, Professor of Law at George Mason University and co-founder of the rally. Professor Alvare bashed the media for their portrayal of women as having only one view on the issue of government-sponsored contraception and abortofacients.
"They really have taken this up as women on one side of the mandate and people who don't like women on the other side, including religious fanatics, who they characterize as men, because they don't think women care anything near as much about religion as about free birth control."