Richard A. Sokerka
Health care is one of the most important yet controversial issues facing Congress this year.
Some feel that Obamacare appears to be dead on arrival with this Congress; while others say that major pieces of it will be subject to being gutted.
No matter what happens to Obamacare, a very critical piece of legislation, the Conscience Protection Act, needs to be part of the new health care discussion not only because of its religious liberty implications but also because it will save lives in the womb.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Archbishop William Lori — as chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities and Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, wrote to both Houses of Congress last week urging support for the Conscience Protection Act of 2017.
They wrote that this is “essential legislation protecting the fundamental rights of health care providers…ensuring 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.
“While existing federal laws already protect conscientious objection to abortion in theory, this protection has not proved effective in practice,” the bishops noted, citing recent examples in which the federal government has refused to enforce these laws.
They explained that conscience protection facilitates access to life-affirming health care: “When government mandates involvement in abortion as a condition for being allowed to provide life-affirming health care services, it not only undermines the widely acknowledged civil rights of health care providers but also limits access to good health care for American women and men.”
We urge all persons of faith to follow the lead of our Church leaders and to write to their representatives urging them to support the Conscience Protection Act.