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Crowds protest Ga. abortion, birth control bills

ATLANTA (AP) -- Hundreds of people marched around the Georgia Capitol Monday protesting two pieces of legislation they say are unfair to women.

The rally comes after the Senate last week passed measures banning abortion coverage under state employees' health care plans and exempting religious health care providers from having to cover birth control.

Demonstrators held signs saying "Trust Georgia women" and "My body is not a political playground" as they walked around the Gold Dome. They chanted "Not the church, not the state, women must decide their fate."

"I don't think that a few men in this state have the right to take away the rights of women," said Suzanne Ault, 48, of Atlanta. "It's not their call to make, the health and life of a woman."

The bills now go to the House for consideration.

The Senate approved the legislation Wednesday, the deadline by which every piece of legislation must pass at least one chamber. All seven of the chamber's Democratic women made statements opposing the bill before locking arms and leaving the chamber after the abortion bill passed.

Similar bills on birth control have been filed in Idaho, Missouri and Arizona, echoing a separate proposal in Congress that would exempt insurance plans from the contraception requirement if they have moral objections. The legislation was filed in response to a recent Obama administration decision that seeks to guarantee employees of religion-affiliated institutions reproductive health coverage, which would include contraception.