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"Historically, the United States has championed freedom, democracy and human rights in the international community. Our recent track record has been less good in defending those whose human rights have been trampled around the Globe. Our obligation at home is to defend religious liberty fervently, but we cannot overlook the challenges that religious believers, most of them Christian, face around the world. The age of martyrdom has not passed. If religious liberty is eroded here at home, American defense of religious liberty abroad is less credible."
– Seán Cardinal O'Malley, Archdiocese of Boston
The right of religious liberty, the First Freedom guaranteed by our Constitution, includes a right to provide and receive health care without being required to violate our most fundamental beliefs.Especially since 1973, when abortion became legal nationwide, federal lawmakers have worked in a bipartisan way to ensure that Americans can fully participate in our health care system without being forced to take part in abortion or other procedures that violate their conscience.
But the need to improve current laws is clear, because the right of conscience is still under attack:
This is why members of Congress of both parties are sponsoring the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (H.R. 940, S. 1204).The Act would improve federal law in three ways:
Inserting a conscience clause into the health care reform law, so its mandates for particular "benefits" in private health plans will not be used to force insurers, employers and individuals to violate their consciences or give up their health insurance.
All House and Senate members should be urged to support and co-sponsor the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, so our First Freedom can regain its proper place as a fundamental right protected in our health care system. For more details, see: www.usccb.org/conscience
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