Now is the time to contact your representatives to urge them to co-sponsor and work to enact the Conscience Protection Act of 2016 (H.R. 4828/S. 2927).
Please tell your members to uphold the right of conscientious objection to abortion by enacting this much-needed legislation. The bill, now introduced into both chambers, contains the policy of what in past years has been called the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA).
The need for federal conscience protection has only grown since 2014, when California started forcing almost all health plans in the state to cover elective abortions, even late-term abortions. This policy has no exemption for moral or religious objections. A mandate for hospitals, even religious ones, to perform abortions may be next. What is more, other states such as Washington and New York may be following California's lead.
These actions clearly violate a federal law known as the Weldon Amendment, which forbids governments receiving federal health care funds to discriminate against those who decline to take part in abortion or abortion coverage. Unfortunately, this amendment has legal weaknesses that make it largely ineffective against such challenges.
The Conscience Protection Act of 2016 (H.R. 4828/S. 2927), will protect health care providers from being forced to pay for or participate in abortions, and allow victims of discrimination a "right of action" to defend their rights in court. For example, nurses threatened with loss of their jobs unless they assist in abortions have found they have no right to go to court to see the law enforced. Congress should reaffirm a principle that has long enjoyed broad bipartisan support: Government should not force hospitals, doctors, nurses and other providers to stop offering much-needed health care because they cannot in good conscience participate in destroying a developing life.
Recommended Actions to take immediately:
- Send emails through the USCCB Action Center
- Contact your Representative by phone. Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at202-224-3121 or call his or her local office. Members' mailing addresses may be found at www.house.gov
- Follow us on Twitter @usccbfreedom and retweet our posts. Repost the link to this alert on your Facebook page or other social media platforms
On www.usccb.org/issues-and-, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan and Archbishop William E. Lori – as chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities and Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, respectively – called for immediate action by the U.S. House of Representatives to enact the Conscience Protection Act of 2016. The bishops wrote that "disturbing new actions to force healthcare providers to participate in the destruction of human life cry out for an immediate federal remedy." See the full text of their letter at:
action/religious-liberty/ conscience-protection/ cardinal-dolan-and-archbishop- lori-urge-passage-of-the- conscience-protection-act-of- 2016.cfm.
For a joint letter from the USCCB and twenty-five other major pro-life, religious, and health care organizations urging support for H.R. 4828, see:humanlifeactioncenter.org/
sites/default/files/Joint-Ltr- Conscience-Protection-Act- 2016.pdf