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For immediate release: Wednesday, July 13, 2016
For more information: Tatiana Bergum, (202) 626-8825, [email protected]Rebuke to Obama Administration refusal to protect rights

U.S. House votes to protect health care providers from state-mandated abortion

WASHINGTON (July 13, 2016) – The president of National Right to Life today commended Republican leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives for winning passage of a bill to protect health care providers from the growing threat of state-government attempts to coerce participation in abortion.

The House passed the Conscience Protection Act (S. 304, containing text identical to H.R. 4828) on a near party-line vote of 245-182.

“State agencies in California and New York are mandating insurance coverage of abortion, and the Obama Administration recently made it clear that it will not enforce federal laws that prohibit such mandates,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life. “The Conscience Protection Act will allow direct access to the federal courts for the victims of coercive pro-abortion government policies.”

In 2014, the California Department of Managed Care issued a decree mandating that nearly all health plans in the state must cover all abortions. This directive was in blatant violation of the Weldon Amendment, a provision of the HHS appropriations bill that has been in continuous effect since 2004. Yet, after two years of inaction, on June 21 the Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services issued letters finding no violation. “The Obama Administration — which grows more brazenly lawless by the week – engaged in contorted analysis and outright fabrication, in order to avoid enforcing a law that is at odds with the Administration’s pro-abortion ideology,” Tobias commented.

Unfortunately, the 2014 California directive is part of a broader trend. An agency of the state of New York has already adopted an abortion mandate, similar to the California policy, requiring small group employers to cover all kinds of abortion. In Washington state, a state court last month ruled that public hospitals must provide abortions if they offer maternity care.

On July 11, National Right to Life, the federation of state right-to-life organizations, sent a letter to U.S. House members expressing strong support for the Conscience Protection Act and advising House members that the House roll call on the bill will appear in the National Right to Life scorecard of key right-to-life votes of the 114th Congress.

The White House issued a veto threat on the bill, which it said, “would have the consequence of limiting women’s health care choices.”

Founded in 1968, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement, NRLC works through legislation and education to protect innocent human life from abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.

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7.13.16 Update: Watch the debate in the US House, expected at 12noon.

Please Call Your Congressman TODAY.

The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on The Conscience Protection Act on Wednesday. This legislation is in direct response to the Obama administration’s ruling last month that forces churches in California to pay for abortions.

In 2014, the California Department of Managed Health Care reclassified abortion as a “basic health service” under the Affordable Care Act. All insurance providers in the state, were accordingly instructed to begin covering surgical abortions immediately. As a result of this regulation, even churches that have moral concerns with the practice of abortion are now legally required to pay for the same.

Churches in California responded by filing a lawsuit and petitioning the Obama administration to uphold the Weldon amendment – federal law that protects conscience rights. While the outcome of the lawsuit is still pending, the Department of Health and Human Services decided to shut down its investigation of the complaints last week, stating it found no violation.

On Wednesday, the House will vote on a bill that would codify two amendments that protect against this type of discrimination (the Hyde and Weldon Amendments) and provide a private right of action for those who experience conscience discrimination. The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funds for abortion, and the Weldon Amendment protects entities and health plans that decline to be involved in the provision of abortions.

Please call your Congressman and ask them to vote YES on The Conscience Protection Act. Let them know that you stand for life and the freedom of conscience. Find your Member and Contact Info here at the National Right to Life Legislative Action Center at http://www.capwiz.com/nrlc/home/.

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