Defending A Sacred Freedom
This week the House of Representatives took a major step forward in protecting religious liberty and defending life by passing my bill, the Conscience Protection Act of 2016. This legislation would prevent governments from penalizing or in any way discriminating against a healthcare provider for refusing to participate in abortion.
In doing so, it would codify an act known as the Weldon Amendment, which has been attached to annual spending bills since 2004 with bipartisan support. But importantly, the bill would also take the law a step further; allowing victims of abortion discrimination to take their case to court in order to seek a resolution.
Today, if you believe you have been discriminated against on the basis of refusing to be involved in abortion, you appeal to the Obama Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). That’s right – you would plead your case to the same Administration that called babies a “punishment”, that said churches shouldn’t talk about abortion, and that infamously said“God bless you” to Planned Parenthood at their annual fundraising gala. The Obama Administration is many things, but a neutral arbiter of the law on matters of abortion is not one of them. We’ve seen that proven time and again.
In the case of Cathy Cenzon-Decarlo, a pro-life nurse from New York forced by her employer to assist in the abortion of a 22-week preborn baby, it took it took HHS three years to close its investigation into her case.
And in California, where the state Department of Managed Health Care required all insurance plans in the state to offer coverage of elective abortion, HHS dragged its feet for two years before finally determining that no violation of the law had occurred – this despite the fact that churches and Christian universities are now required to subsidize abortion through their insurance plans.
By passing my legislation, the Conscience Protection Act,Congress is taking action to clarify and strengthen our laws so that the conscience rights of every American are protected.
I look at it this way: Pro-abortion Members of Congress frequently talk about protecting the “right to choose.” Of course, we all know their argument leaves no choice for the innocent life inside the womb, but if politicians are willing to defend that “right” it stands to reason that they should protect the other right to choose as well: the right not to be a forced partner in the practice of abortion. This is what my bill will do.
It was our nation’s third President, Thomas Jefferson, who reminded us that “No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority.” Those words must be as true in 2016 as they were when Jefferson penned them in 1809. With the passage of the Conscience Protection Act, we can make certain that these basic rights of pro-life Americans are safeguarded from government attack.
Member of Congress