Fourteen Members of Congress Sign Letter Asking that Conscience Rights Be Included in Budget Bill

Fourteen members of Congress sent a letter to the House leadership asking that conscience rights be included in the upcoming budget bill. They mentioned specific violations of the right to conscience, including the HHS Mandate. Thirteen of the 14 signers were women. This puts the lie to the claim that women support attacks on religious freedom and individual freedom of conscience such as the HHS Mandate.

This is an unprecedented move by these House members which could have far-reaching consequences for the future of religious freedom in this country. I don’t know if these Congresspeople wrote this letter in response to the call for Congress to make the HHS Mandate a bargaining chip in the sequester/fiscal cliff/budget negotiations. But I do know that this letter came shortly after grassroots lobbying efforts  for this kind of move began.

Fourteen signers out of 453 voting members of the US House may not sound like much, but I think it’s a great start. By putting their names on this letter, these Congresspeople have stepped out in front of the issue of religious freedom and used their clout as members of the majority party to urge their leadership to do the same.

I am going to contact members of my Congressional delegation and ask them to sign on to this letter, as well. Hopefully, we will get many more Republicans and a few Democrats to sign. I am also going to contact those who signed this letter and thank them.

You can contact your Congressman or woman by going here.


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  • Don

    The HHS mandate has amendments that have been proposed and are in the public comment period. A statutory amendment attached to the budget would short circuit the process. It would be much easier for the HHS to publish the final version of the amendments with the same accomodations for private employers as will be provided for religiously affiliated employers.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Why would anyone want to avoid “short circuiting” this process? The HHS Mandate needs to be rescinded. Period.

  • Don


    Are you saying that, even if employers like Hobby Lobby were to be provide with the same accommodation as the others included under the amendments, you would still be against the amendment? My wife’s pills are paid for under her health plan. I would not like to give up that benefit if her employer decides that he is against birth control.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I repeat: The HHS Mandate is a bad piece of governance and needs to be rescinded. It’s not a statute. It’s an agency rule. All that would happen if it was rescinded is that the Agency in question (in this case the Health and Human Services Department) would be tasked under an actual statute that was passed by Congress (the Affordable Health Care Act) to draw up new rules. This time, hopefully, they would read the Constitution before creating their rules.

    • Theodore Seeber

      Don, a more troubling question is why you have a contraceptive mentality instead of a proceptive mentality.

      • Sus

        Maybe you saw something about Don’s wife’s pills somewhere else. I don’t remember anything.

        Don didn’t say the pills were to prevent contraception. There are other medical reasons to take birth control pills that have nothing to do with “birth control”.

        Why do you always ASSume the worse?

        • Theodore Seeber

          “I would not like to give up that benefit if her employer decides that he is against birth control.” indicates a contraceptive purpose to the pills to me.

          But the reason I always assume the worst, is because in my 41 years of life, I have constantly and consistently been exposed to everybody who denies Church teaching, having the worst of motives at heart.

          Every time somebody claims “I want the freedom to do X”, there is usually a rational reason why we as a society look down on people doing X. They want to ignore that reason and claim personal, emotional, subjective reasons for the exemption.

          I deny the existence of the subjective.

          • Don

            The pills are to both regulate her menstrual cycle and prevent pregnancy. We have two children and do not plan to have any more. I wouldn’t call that one of “the worst of motives at heart.” I don’t know why society would look down at people doing X if X is what I just described to you.

            • Theodore Seeber

              “We have two children and do not plan to have any more. ”

              It is the planning that is the problem. And why would anybody WANT to regulate a God-given process? Nevermind, I know the answer- we all try to control what we have been given instead of accept it.

              Guess that’s part of my own wandering away from Church Teaching settling in: Zen, like most Buddhism, teaches that suffering comes from expecting a different world than you have been given.

              • Don

                “It is the planning that is the problem.”

                There is nothing wrong with planning, Ted. If people didn’t plan their days, weeks, months, years and lives, their lives would be less under their own control and more subject to chance.

  • Rev. Katherine Marple

    Rep. Hamilton, you know how I feel about this… Love this! WE CANNOT BACK DOWN from this…2014 will define the rest of this presidency.

  • neenergyobserver

    Fourteen is indeed a good start and I notice that amongst them are several that are downright heroic in their defense of traditional American values. good on them, and my their like increase quickly.

  • Justin West

    Good for them! Let us keep them in our prayers!