Congressman John Fleming
WASHINGTON, D.C. –Congressman John Fleming, M.D. released the following statement after introducing H.R. 4828, the Conscience Protection Act, which affords doctors, nurses, hospitals, and all health care providers the ability to choose not to provide abortions as part of their health care practice.
“As a family practice physician for over 30 years, I know for a fact that doctors and nurses are dedicated medical professionals uniquely qualified to assess the health and wellness needs of their patients. There is no room in the clinic for government discrimination, for Big Brother to force a health care provider to participate, in any way, in an abortion. My legislation offers common sense conscience protections for the front line of the medical profession. From clinician to hospital, from an HMO to insurance coverage, and from a student health plan to a physician in training, H.R. 4828 protects against forced participation in abortions and provides recourse for victims facing discrimination.”
Rep. Hartzler (R-MO), an original co-sponsor of H.R. 4828 added, “Forcing a health care provider, church, private employer, or charity to violate their conscience is simply wrong. Caring professionals such as nurses and doctors should not be forced to perform abortions; nor should states, like California, force individuals to buy or provide insurance policies that pay for abortions. Our bill reinforces conscience protections already provided and offers a legal right of action to those who have been harmed by discriminatory or unlawful mandates. I am proud to co-sponsor this measure to stand up for those courageously standing by their convictions, to protect life, and to preserve the religious freedoms afforded to all of us.”
Background: There is an urgent need to pass the Conscience Protection Act. Longstanding, bipartisan, annual federal appropriations language, known as the Hyde/Weldon amendment, offers limited protections against discrimination for health care providers which do not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions. Despite the Hyde/Weldon amendment, nurses have been forced to participate in gruesome dismemberment abortions and/or instructed that performing an abortion is mandatory for training or employment purposes. Additionally, beginning in August 2014 the California Department for Managed Health Care (DMHC) issued a directive requiring that all insurance plans under the State’s authority immediately cover abortions. This means that California churches, religious charities, employers and individuals are forced to purchase abortion coverage via their health plans. In a second brazen move, the Golden State is now requiring that pregnancy care centers post signs instructing clients where they can obtain an abortion. Despite the fact that California’s actions violate the Hyde/Weldon pro-life policy, the current Administration has failed to resolve the matter. The Conscience Protection Act would protect pro-life health care providers from forced complicity in an abortion and would also provide a private right of action, enabling victims of governmental discrimination to seek redress in court.
Contact: Sarah Althouse (202-225-2777)