Senate Vote To Set Aside Conscience Act Marks Chance To Build Bipartisan Support, Seek Judicial Remedies For Religious Freedom

March 1, 2012 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—The Senate’s 51-48 voteMarch 1 to table the bipartisan Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (S. 1467),sponsored by Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) and 37 other senators, impels the Churchto strengthen its resolve to support religious freedom.

“Theneed to defend citizens’ rights of conscience is the most critical issue beforeour country right now,” said Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut.Bishop Lori chairs the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the UnitedStates Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). “We will continue our strong defenseof conscience rights through all available legal means. Religious freedom is atthe heart of democracy and rooted in the dignity of every human person. We willnot rest until the protection of conscience rights is restored and the FirstAmendment is returned to its place of respect in the Bill of Rights.”

“Iam grateful today to Senator Roy Blunt and the 47 other Senators who cast a bipartisanvote reaffirming our nation’s long tradition of respect for rights ofconscience in health care,” said Bishop Lori. “We will build on this base of support as we pursue legislation in theHouse of Representatives, urge the Administration to change its course on thisissue, and explore our legal rights under the Constitution and the ReligiousFreedom Restoration Act.”

Freedomof conscience has been in the forefront since the Obama Administration issued aregulation under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act forcing mostemployers, including religious institutions, to provide coverage for sterilizationand contraceptives, including abortion-inducing drugs, even when they violatechurch teaching.

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Keywords: Sen. Roy Blunt, Bishop William E. Lori, U.S.bishops, USCCB, conscience rights, religious liberty, contraception,sterilization, abortifacients

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MEDIA CONTACT:Sr. Mary Ann WalshO: 202-541-3200M: 301-325-7935Email