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NCHLA Action Center

S. 2578’s Unprecedented Attack on Conscience and Religious Freedom

8/14/2014


Send e-mail to Congress

In its recent Hobby Lobby decision, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that the HHS contraceptive mandate as applied to closely held for-profit corporations with a religious objection, violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). In reaction, a bill called the “Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act” (S. 2578) was introduced. Ranging very broadly, the bill negates any right that employers, insurers, employees or private individuals may have, under RFRA or any other federal law, to opt out of federally mandated coverage for any item. A motion to consider S. 2578 narrowly failed in the Senate. See: nchla.org/datasource/idocuments/2578vote.c.pdf. Under Senate rules, the bill can be brought up again for a vote. The Senate is in recess until September 8. Members are now in their home states. Please use this opportunity to contact your Senators with follow-up actions. Thank those who opposed S. 2578, and urge those who supported it to reconsider their position.

Recommended Actions during the Recess:

  • Send e-mails through NCHLA’s Action Center. Click here.
  • Contact your Senators by phone. Information for calling Senators’ local offices can be found on their websites at: www.senate.gov. Or call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121.
  • Send letters-to-the-editor to local papers.
  • Attend town meetings. Informally meet your Senators at county fairs or other such public events.
  • Participate in TV and radio call-in shows.

Message for Senators Opposing S. 2578: “Thank you for voting against advancing the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act (S. 2578). This bill would revoke conscience rights now guaranteed by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and other federal laws. In the future it could empower federal officials to mandate abortion or any other item in all health plans. Americans would be forced to violate their deeply held religious and moral beliefs on respect for human life. Please vote against any future motion to advance or approve this bill.”

Message for Senators Supporting S. 2578: “I am deeply disappointed that you have given support to the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act (S. 2578). Please reconsider your position. This bill would revoke conscience rights now guaranteed by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and other federal laws. In the future it could empower federal officials to mandate abortion or any other item in all health plans. Americans would be forced to violate their deeply held religious and moral beliefs on respect for human life. I urge you to vote against any future motion to advance or approve this bill.”

When: The Senate may reconsider S. 2578 at any time after it returns from its August recess. Please contact your Senators today!

Background

The HHS mandate requires health plans to cover all FDA-approved prescription contraceptives, female sterilization, and “counseling and education” promoting these to women and minor girls. It allows only a very narrow religious exemption, chiefly for “houses of worship.” Nonprofit religious groups serving the vulnerable receive only an “accommodation” requiring them to authorize their insurer or third-party administrator to provide the objectionable items. For more information on S. 2578, see: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/conscience-protection/upload/S-2578-Backgrounder.pdf.


8/14/14



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