Cardinal Dolan and Archbishop Lori to Congress: Support the Conscience Protection Act of 2017

February 10, 2017 By Public Affairs Office

WASHINGTON—CardinalTimothy M. Dolan and Archbishop William E. Lori – as chairmen of the U.S.Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities and Ad HocCommittee for Religious Liberty, respectively – wrote to both Houses of theUnited States Congress on February 8, urging support for the ConscienceProtection Act of 2017 (H.R. 644, S. 301).

TheConscience Protection Act, they wrote, is "essential legislation protecting thefundamental rights of health care providers…to ensure that those providingmuch-needed health care and health coverage can continue to do so without beingforced by government to help destroy innocent unborn children."

"Whileexisting federal laws already protect conscientious objection to abortion intheory, this protection has not proved effective in practice," the bishopsnoted, citing recent examples in which the federal government has refused toenforce these laws. "The ConscienceProtection Act will address the deficiencies that block effective enforcementof existing laws," they said, "most notably by establishing a private right ofaction allowing victims of discrimination to defend their own rights in court."

CardinalDolan and Archbishop Lori recalled the Hippocratic oath's rejection of abortionin the profession of medicine, indicating that the Act will benefit not onlyCatholic medical professionals but "the great majority of ob/gyns [who] remainunwilling to perform abortions."

Finally,they explained that conscience protection facilitates access to life-affirminghealth care: "When government… mandates involvement in abortion as a conditionfor being allowed to provide life-affirming health care services, it not onlyundermines the widely acknowledged civil rights of health care providers butalso limits access to good health care for American women and men."

Thefull text of their letter to Senate is posted at: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/conscience-protection/upload/Conscience-Protection-Act-Dolan-Lori-Ltr-to-Senate-02-08-17.pdf.

For more on the bishops' promotion of consciencerights, including a video about a nurse who was coerced to take part in alate-term abortion, visit:  www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/conscience-protection.

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Keywords: CardinalTimothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, Committee on Pro-Life Activities,Archbishop William Lori, Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops,USCCB, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Congress, pro-life,Conscience Protection Act of 2017 (H.R. 644, S. 301), abortion, conscience rights, medicalprofession, OB/GYN, integrity, Hippocratic oath

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