Protect Rights of Conscience and Religious Liberty
The need for legislation protecting the rights of conscience and religious liberty has grown more pressing. The Obama Administration’s contraceptive/abortifacient mandate under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) began to be enforced against nonprofit religious schools, charities and health care providers on January 1, 2014. More recently the state of California started forcing all health insurers in the state to include elective abortions in the health plans they sell. These two problems are addressed by the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (H.R 940). This measure adds a long-overdue conscience clause to the ACA, and strengthens the Weldon amendment that forbids governmental bodies receiving federal Health and Human Services funds from discriminating against those who decline to take part in abortion or abortion coverage. Members should be urged to support and co-sponsor H.R. 940.
- Send e-mails through NCHLA’s Grassroots Action Center: Click Here.
- Contact your Representative by phone. Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121, or call your Representative’s local office. Full contact info can be found on Members’ web sites at: at: www.house.gov.
Suggested Message: "Please support and co-sponsor the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (H.R. 940). Government must not force Americans to violate their religious and moral beliefs on respect for life when they provide health care or purchase health coverage.”
When: The new Congress began January 6. Please contact your Representative today!Background
The contraceptive/abortifacient mandate: Under the ACA, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requires most health plans to cover “preventive services for women,” including drugs and procedures that many citizens find objectionable for moral and religious reasons. These objectionable items include sterilization, FDA-approved birth control (such as the IUD, Depo-Provera, “morning-after” pills, and the abortion-inducing drug Ella), and “education and counseling” to promote these to all “women of reproductive capacity,” including minor girls. Religious organizations offering education, health care and charitable services do not qualify under a very narrow exemption for a “religious employer.”
Abortion coverage mandate: On August 22, 2014, the California Department of Managed Health Care ordered all health plans under its jurisdiction, including those provided by churches and other religious institutions to their employees, to provide coverage for all abortions. Similar proposals have emerged in other states. In theory, current federal law forbids such discrimination, but the law has deficiencies that could allow California to evade the law or challenge it in court—and it does not allow the victims of discrimination to go to court to defend their own rights.
On February 13, Cardinal O’Malley and Archbishop Lori of the U. S. Conference of Catholic Bishops urged House members to support and co-sponsor H.R. 940. For this letter and other information, see: www.usccb.org/conscience