U.S. bishops have previously asked Congress to pass the Conscience Protection Act.
National Catholic Register
WASHINGTON — A bill that would protect health care providers’ freedom to opt out of abortion mandates they find objectionable has once again been introduced in Congress.
“This bill is needed to give health care providers the right to provide medical care without violating their deeply held beliefs,” Sen. James Lankford, sponsor of the bill in the Senate, stated on Friday.
“Americans have very different views about abortion, but we should not force anyone to participate in it or provide coverage,” he added.
The Conscience Protection Act would protect health care providers from federal, state and local abortion mandates if they conscientiously object to assisting with abortions. It would also protect religious employers from having to cover elective abortions in their health plans and establishes a “right of action” for all entities if they believe their religious beliefs on the matter are violated. . . [Full text]
US Conference of Catholic Bishops
WASHINGTON—Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan and – as chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities and Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, respectively – wrote to the U.S. House of Representatives, March 31, urging support for the Conscience Protection Act of 2016 (HR 4828).
The Conscience Protection Act, they wrote, is “essential legislation protecting the fundamental rights of health care providers…to ensure that those providing much-needed health care and health coverage can continue to do so without being forced by government to help destroy innocent unborn children.”
HR 4828 has a “modest scope,” they noted. “While existing federal laws already protect conscientious objection to abortion in theory, this protection has not proved effective in practice… The Conscience Protection Act will address the deficiencies that block effective enforcement of existing laws, most notably by establishing a private right of action allowing victims of discrimination to defend their own rights in court.”
Cardinal Dolan and Archbishop Lori recalled the Hippocratic oath’s rejection of abortion in the profession of medicine, indicating that the Act will benefit not only Catholic medical professionals but “the great majority of ob/gyns [who] remain unwilling to perform abortions.”
Finally, they explained that conscience protection facilitates access to life-affirming health care: “When government…mandates involvement in abortion as a condition for being allowed to provide life-affirming health care services, it not only undermines the widely acknowledged civil rights of health care providers but also limits access to good health care for American women and men.”
The full text of their letter is posted at:
For more on the bishops’ promotion of conscience rights, including a recent video about a nurse who was coerced to take part in a late-term abortion, visit:
National Catholic Register
Archbishop William Lori and Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention are united by the belief that Congress must act to help preserve freedom of religion and conscience.
WASHINGTON — Catholic and Baptist leaders are collaborating to ask national legislators to support a bill that would offer conscience protections to health-care workers across the country.
“While Catholics and Southern Baptists espouse different theological views, we are united by the belief that Congress must act to help preserve our freedom of religion and conscience,” Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore and Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention wrote in a June 21 letter to members of Congress. . . [Full story]