www.CatholicLiberty.com

Proposed Health Care Conscience Rights Act — ‘Last and Only Hope’?


JOAN FRAWLEY DESMOND

Source:
Nat. Cath. Register
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
3/5/2013

Go to this article

Want to understand the Catholic faith?

ABSTRACTProposed Health Care Conscience Rights Act — ‘Last and Only Hope’? | Daily News | NCRegister.com Print Edition:  March 10, 2013 Sign-up for our E-letter!   Donate Archives Blogs Store Resources Advertise Jobs Radio Subscribe Make This My Homepage Resources Arts & Entertainment Books Commentary Culture of Life Education In Person News Opinion Sunday Guides Travel Vatican Dan Burke Jeanette DeMelo Edward Pentin Mark Shea Matthew Warner Jimmy Akin Matt & Pat Archbold Simcha Fisher Tito Edwards Jennifer Fulwiler Steven D. Greydanus Tim Drake Tom Wehner Our Latest Show About the Show About the Register Donate Subscribe Stations Schedule Other EWTN Shows Advertising Overview Editorial Calendar Order Web Ad Order Print Ad Print Article | Email Article | Write To Us Daily News Daily News Proposed Health Care Conscience Rights Act — ‘Last and Only Hope’? (685) House Republicans introduce bill to shield employers from HHS mandate and protect health-care professionals and facilities under pressure to perform abortions. Tweet by JOAN FRAWLEY DESMOND 03/05/2013 Comment Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. – Wikipedia WASHINGTON — Cathy Cenzon-DeCarlo, a New York state nurse who was forced to participate in an abortion at 22-weeks gestation or risk losing her job and nursing license, told members of Congress that the experience still haunted her dreams. Cenzon-DeCarlo was among several Catholic women who were invited to a March 5 briefing for House members on the proposed Health Care Conscience Rights Act of 2013. Fifty GOP House members are co-sponsoring the bill, which offers a broad religious exemption and conscience protections for both private employers who oppose the federal mandate, and for Catholic hospitals and professionals like Cenzon-DeCarlo that face pressure to facilitate abortions. “The administration has leveraged its expansion of government to trample on the religious freedom of private individuals, hospitals, nonprofits, businesses, churches and universities — forcing many Americans to make an impossible choice: either defy your religious convictions or break the law and face financially crippling legal penalties,” said Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn. Black spoke at a March 5 press conference on Capitol Hill that introduced the proposed Health Care Conscience Rights Act, H.R. 940, and she was flanked by fellow House members and by Catholic plaintiffs who have filed legal challenges to the HHS mandate; afterward, the group briefed House members on the bill. “As a nurse for more than 40 years, I am proud to introduce the Health Care Conscience Rights Act to protect religious freedom, disempower Obamacare and stop the administration’s assault on Americans’ First Amendment rights,” said the congresswoman. Black, Reps. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., and Dr. John Fleming, R-La., are spearheading the campaign to secure passage of the proposed Health Care Conscience Rights Act. The bill, they explained in a March 5 statement , offers a “full exemption from the Obama administration's Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate and conscience protection for individuals and health-care entities that refuse to provide, pay for or refer patients to abortion providers because of their deeply held, reasoned beliefs.” “We have come together to act to protect Americans’ most basic rights — our rights of conscience and religious freedom,” Fortenberry told the Register. “The bill simply restores the basic rights in health care that were widely accepted before the implementation of the new health-care law.” Authorized under the Affordable Care Act, the HHS mandate has prompted over 40 legal challenges filed by religious institutions and private businesses that oppose co-pay-free coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraception on moral and religious grounds. However, opponents of the controversial federal law have pursued a two-track strategy, mounting legal challenges, but also pressing for legislation to secure a broader religious exemption and broad conscience rights for individual employers.   Archbishop Lori Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, released a statement March 5 that called for the bill’s “swift passage into law.” “While federal laws are on the books protecting conscience rights in health care, this act would make such protection truly effective,” said Archbishop Lori. “This overdue measure is especially needed in light of new challenges to conscience rights arising from the federal health-care reform act.” In his Feb. 15 letter to lawmakers, Archbishop Lori said that Congress should include religious liberty and conscience protections “when it considers proposals for continued funding of t.......