BLOG3 Things to Know about the Conscience Protection Act Passed by the U.S. House of Representatives

By Marissa Mayer Posted on: | July 27, 2016

No one can pretend that abortion isn't a controversial issue.

Members of the pro-life community recognize that abortion is ending a life in the womb, and for ethical or religious reasons, strongly oppose such an act. But they are not alone in their feelings about abortion. Recent polls show that more than 80% of Americans believe there should be restrictions on abortion—80 percent! That is a very large percentage of Americans who have moral and ethical concerns about abortion generally, much less directly participating in one.”

That's why the Conscience Protection Act, which was passed by the United States House of Representatives recently, is so important. Here are three things everyone needs to know about the Conscience Protection Act.

1. Even with the Weldon Amendment, the Conscience Protection Act is necessary.

The Weldon Amendment is a federal conscience protection that prevents governments from discriminating against a health care entity, (including health care providers such as doctors, nurses, and hospitals, and even health care plans) because it does not "provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions."

Despite this, it's almost inconceivable how slow the federal government can be to enforce this law. As a result, it is too easy for healthcare professionals and others who object to abortion on religious or moral grounds, to find themselves in situations where they are forced to choose between their conscience and their career with little hope for a quick legal resolution. The Conscience Protection Act takes the Weldon Amendment a step further by not only protecting against government discrimination, but would also require federal investigation into complaints alleging discrimination. 

Take California for example. The state has mandated that all insurance plans in the state cover elective abortions. This essentially forces everyone, including churches, to pay for abortion in their insurance plans. This is a blatant violation of the law, and yet, after years of dragging its feet to act on the violation, the Office of Civil Rights within the federal Department of Health and Human Services instead claimed that the California mandate is perfectly legal and that it is powerless to enforce the Weldon Amendment anyway. The Administration effectively negated this decade-old law. This is not okay. 

2. Conscience protection has always been a bi-partisan topic for Congress—until now.

Our society is divided on abortion, but most Americans, from the Supreme Court to Congress to your everyday Joe, have always agreed that no one should be coerced to participate in abortion. Unfortunately, that trend has rapidly deteriorated under the Obama Administration.  The House vote on the Conscience Protect Act was largely divided along party lines with only three Democrats joining all but one Republican representative in voting in favor of the bill.

"Our consciences should not be up for debate. Regrettably, some would make conscience a partisan issue. Or even a religious one. But historically, despite our differences, Americans have found common ground on respecting individual conscience," said ADF Senior Counsel Casey Mattox shortly after testifying before members of Congress on the need for the Conscience Protection Act.

Perhaps now more than ever it's easy to see the abortion cronyism at work. But when government representatives cater to the whims of abortion lobbyists who care more about their own bottom line than women's health and safety, it is cause for concern. After all, NARAL president Ilyse Hogue recently admitted that one of the pro-abortion group's future goals is to force taxpayers to pay for other people's abortions.

3. No one should be forced to violate their conscience in order to make a living.

One of the other witnesses to testify on the need for the Conscience Protection Act was former ADF client Cathy DeCarlo. As a nurse at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, Cathy was forced to participate in a late-term abortion despite her longstanding religious objection to participating in abortions due to her Catholic beliefs. The hospital threatened Cathy with the loss of her job and her license if she refused to participate in the abortion. 

ADF filed suit on Cathy's behalf, but it wasn't until almost three years later that the hospital changed its policy to ensure that medical professionals would never be forced to participate in abortions. Unfortunately, a growing number of doctors, pharmacists, and even hospitals have been targeted by abortion advocates with the goal of forcing them to perform or participate in abortions.

No One Should Be Forced to Pay for or Participate in Abortion

If abortion is a "choice" like advocates claim, then all Americans should have a choice not to participate in abortion. Share this post to help spread the word about why we need the Conscience Protection Act. The bill is now headed to the U.S. Senate, and will hopefully be voted on this fall.

Marissa Mayer

Senior Web Writer

Marissa Mayer is an Arizona native who fell in love with the written word at a young age.

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