A Thursday press release from Congressman Diane Black’s office reported:
Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06), Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE-01), and Congressman John Fleming (R-LA-04) announced the reintroduction of H.R. 940, the Health Care Conscience Rights Act. The bill would protect Americans’ freedom of conscience and stop the Obama Administration’s attack on religious liberty. H.R. 940 offers full exemption from Obamacare’s Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate and ensures protections for individuals and healthcare entities that refuse to provide, pay for, or refer patients to abortion providers because of their deeply held beliefs.
Congressman Black’s office revealed that the legislation has “the bipartisan support of 110 cosponsors.”
The sponsors of the Health Care Conscience Rights Act also say that it would apply to California’s recent direct violation of religious freedom rights. In the summer of 2014, California ordered all insurance plans on its state exchanges to pay for abortions – even when purchased by churches or other religious organizations.
Congressmen Black, Fortenberry, and Fleming explained their reasons for sponsoring the Health Care Conscience Rights Act:
“The rights of conscience and religious freedom preexist the government. They are rights grounded by the demands of human dignity and are enshrined in our Constitution.” – Congressman Fortenberry
“The Administration’s actions are a direct assault on Americans’ religious liberties, forcing people of faith to violate their deeply held religious beliefs. H.R. 940 will get at the heart of the issue…” – Congressman Fleming
“[O]ur bill offers full exemption from the HHS mandate and provides needed legal protections for healthcare entities who refuse to partake in the barbaric practice of abortion. As a nurse for more than 40 years, I am proud to introduce this legislation that will safeguard the conscience rights of every American and ensure that more unborn lives can be saved in the process.” – Congressman Black
The Protection of Conscience Project – an initiative which advocates for freedom of conscience laws around the world – declares that one goal of such legislation is “preserving freedom of choice – for everyone.” The Project believes it’s about “service – not servitude.”
Pro-choice opposition to conscience bills highlights why self-proclaimed “pro-choicers” are truly “pro-abortion.” Many support only a choice for abortion, while vehemently opposing a health professional’s, a religious person’s or a businessperson’s right to refuse to be involved with abortion. That “choice” is deemed unacceptable.
Freedom of conscience bills – like the Health Care Conscience Rights Act – remind Americans that we are a nation that was founded on religious freedom for all. One person’s “right” to abort their child (which is not a true constitutional right) cannot override the basic, clearly spelled out right to religious freedom in the First Amendment.
Additionally, Americans do not give up their freedom of religion when they choose to engage in business or the health care industry. The U.S. Supreme Court supported this idea in its recent Hobby Lobby decision, where it allowed the owners of Hobby Lobby to refrain from paying for birth control that caused abortions.
No American should be required to check her religious beliefs or freedom of conscience at the door, just so she can participate in the marketplace or in health care. No American should be coerced by the federal or state government to be a part of a procedure – abortion – that kills an innocent, living, unique human being.
This should be obvious, based simply on the First Amendment. But since the Obama administration (and the state of California) is fond of overriding the Constitution in favor of abortion on demand, the Health Care Conscience Rights Act is an appropriate answer.