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WASHINGTON—Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan and Archbishop William E. Lori – as chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities and Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, respectively – called for immediate action by the U.S. House of Representatives to enact the Conscience Protection Act of 2016.
The bishops wrote that "disturbing new actions to force healthcare providers to participate in the destruction of human life cry out for an immediate federal remedy."
Cardinal Dolan and Archbishop Lori cited three recent examples of government coercion on abortion. First is the June 21 ruling by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services allowing, "contrary to the plain meaning of current federal law, that California's Department of Managed Health Care can continue forcing all health plans under its jurisdiction to cover elective abortions, including late-term abortions."
Second, the State of New York has followed California's lead and is mandating that all health insurers operating in New York require small group employers—including faith-based non-profits and Christian businesses—to cover all abortions with no exemption. "Even Churches and religious organizations could be required to cover some abortions in violation of their beliefs," they said.
Third, on June 21, a trial court in Washington State ruled that public hospitals in that state must do abortions if they also offer maternity services. According to the State's Attorney General, this requirement applies even if the public hospital is acquired by a Catholic healthcare provider.
The Conscience Protection Act, they wrote, would "ensure that those providing much-needed health care and health coverage can continue to do so without being forced by government to help destroy innocent unborn children."
In their call to enact the Conscience Protection Act, the bishops reference recent Fourth of July celebrations, urging Representatives to "uphold the rights to life and liberty which our Founding Fathers wisely asserted as most fundamental to our nation's existence."
The full text of their letter is posted at: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/conscience-protection/cardinal-dolan-and-archbishop-lori-urge-passage-of-the-conscience-protection-act-of-2016.cfm.
For more on the bishops' promotion of conscience rights, including a video about a nurse who was coerced to take part in a late-term abortion, visit: www.usccb.org/conscience.
Keywords: USCCB, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop William Lori, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, U.S. bishops, health care, discrimination, pro-life, abortion, conscience rights, conscience protection, Hippocratic Oath
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