Representative Diane Black Introduces the Health Care Conscience Protection Act

Representative Diane Black (R-TN), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and John Fleming, MD (R-LA) announced that they will introduce the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (HCCRA.)

It is bill number HR 940.

According to Rep Black’s website, HR 940, “offers reprieve from ongoing violations of our First Amendment, including 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. HCCRA has 50 original co-sponsors.”

Representative Black allowed individuals who have been harmed by the government’s attacks on freedom of religion to speak at the press conference announcing this bill. They were:

Cathy Cenzon-DeCarlo, RN – New York State nurse who filed suit after her freedom to serve patients according to her conscience was violated. For more information, click here.

·         Susan Elliott, PhD, Director and Professor at Biola University Nursing Department. For more information, click here.

·         Christine Ketterhagen, Co-Owner/Board Member of Hercules Industries, Inc.; Andy Newland, President of Hercules Industries; Bill Newland, Chairman of the Board of Hercules Industries. For more information, click here

·         Sister Jane Marie Klein, OSF, Chairperson of the Board of Franciscan Alliance, Inc. (in Mishawaka, IN). Franciscan Alliance is a co-plaintiff with the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend.

Representative Black’s website included the following provisions in the Health Care Conscience Act:

HHS Mandate:

Under the health care coverage mandate issued on August 3, 2011, widely known as the HHS mandate, organizations and their managers are now facing potentially ruinous financial penalties for exercising their First Amendment rights, as protected by law. Hobby Lobby, a family business that was denied injunctive relief from the mandate and faces fines of up to $1.3 million dollars a day, unless its owners agree to fund potentially abortion-inducing drugs. If Hobby Lobby is forced to close its doors, some 25,000 jobs nationwide may disappear. The Obama Administration’s HHS mandate exemption only includes houses of worship and does not account for the thousands of religious and non-religious affiliated employers that find it a moral hazard to cover sterilization, contraception and potentially abortion-inducing drugs on their employer-based health insurance. Ultimately, the so-called “accommodation” does not protect anyone’s religious rights, because all companies and organizations will still be forced to provide insurance coverage that includes services which conflict with their religious convictions. The HCCRA would address this violation of our First Amendment rights by providing a full exemption for all those whose religious beliefs run counter to the Administration’s HHS mandate.

Abortion Non-Discrimination:

The HCCRA also protects institutions and individuals from forced or coerced participation in abortion.  In recent years there have been several examples of nurses being told they must participate in abortions. There have also been efforts to require Catholic Hospitals to do abortions, and a Catholic social service provider was denied a grant to assist victims of human trafficking on the basis of their pro-life convictions.  The HCCRA codifies and clarifies the appropriations provision known as the Hyde‐Weldon conscience clause. This is accomplished by adding the protections for health care entities that refuse to provide, pay for, or refer for abortion to the section of the Public Health Service Act known as the Coats Amendment. It also adds the option of judicial recourse for victims whose rights have been violated under the HCCRA, Coats, or the conscience clauses known as the Church amendments.

You can call your Congresspeople at 202-224-3121. Or you can find their email addresses here

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  • Theodore Seeber

    I met a nurse at church who was *furious* with me for being pro-life. When we dug down through specific examples, it turns out our beliefs on abortion were *EXACTLY* the same, with one vital difference- at one point in her career she had been forced to participate in an abortion, the circumstances of which I would have called triage, not abortion (in that it was an emergency situation, in a hospital ER, it was a number of decades ago, and both mother and child would surely have died without surgical intervention, AND it was a standard C-section and every attempt was made to save the child after removing her from the womb. The mother had 5 other children already, so there is some argument there that this was the principle of double effect in action).

    It was on the basis of that ONE case, that the nurse at my church decided to go against church teaching and call herself pro-choice.

    Conscience protections ARE important. I may be for personhood, but I can’t help but wonder if that nurse at my Church would still be calling herself pro-choice if that incident had been given the proper name to begin with, triage.

  • Dale

    Hmm… the bill could be a good thing. Since the text of the legislation isn’t currently available, that is hard to assess.

  • Don

    I don’t think the President would sign it or that it would get enough votes to override a veto.

    • Theodore Seeber

      The president NOT signing it could be used as proof that he took his oath in bad conscience and could be used as evidence for impeachment.

  • Darren

    This is a great idea! The only objection I have is that it does not go far enough, not nearly far enough.

    Government abuses of our God given freedoms are far more widespread than Barry-Care. We are talking about the government taking ownership of every aspect of our lives, thinking they can tell us who we can marry, how we raise our children, the function of our families. This is the government STEALING our hard-earned money, taking food out of the mouths of our children, to fund institutionalized mass murder!

    This law is a step in the right direction, but why only a step, and a baby-step at that? What we are saying is that there are two types of law in this world: The Law of Man and God’s Law. We follow God’s Law, NOT the Law of Man.

    Christ did tell us to render unto Ceaser, and to submit to lawful authority, so as long as the Law of Man does not conflict with God’s Law, we should follow it, but those areas are few these days. When the Law of Man usurps, countermands, defiles God’s Law, then we have NO OBLIGATION to follow it, in fact, we are commanded to DEFY IT!

    Let’s make this law say JUST THAT!

    It has been twenty years since the government, under another Satanic president, showed all of us just what they will do to Godly men, women, and children. Why are we still waiting?!

  • Bill S

    “When the Law of Man usurps, countermands, defiles God’s Law, then we have NO OBLIGATION to follow it, in fact, we are commanded to DEFY IT!”

    This kind of crazy talk is deemed acceptable. But identifying it as such is not. Go figure.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Bill, you know all about defiance. I asked you to stop trying to hijack this board and I got up this morning to find that while I was sleeping you had tried to post over 20 times — and that’s not counting your pseudonyms. I want you to stop posting under phony names, and for pete’s sake stop commenting on your own posts that you make under other names as if you were talking to/about someone other than yourself. Also, stop making snide comments to/about me through your pseudonyms. Grow up Bill, or at least behave like a grownup.

  • Dale

    The text of the proposed bill, Health Care Conscience Rights Act (H.R. 940,) is now online.

    The bill specifically exempts persons and facilities from being required to train in abortion procedures, to provide abortions, or to refer patients to other sources for abortion. While such protections are very desirable, I think these provisions will provoke strong political opposition. One of the laments of pro-choice activists is the decreasing number of physicians who are trained in, or who offer, abortion. Ease of access to abortions seems to be a major area of contention between pro-choice and pro-life advocates.

    Although that section of the bill might attract the most attention, I am a bit concerned about the earlier sections concerning insurance coverage. Those sections offer conscience protection to individuals, insurers and sponsors of insurance based upon a “moral or religious objection.” This sounds reasonable, but vague and perhaps overly broad. What constitutes a moral objection? If someone’s political philosophy was opposed to the whole idea of required insurance coverage would HR 940 allow an insurance plan which was hollow, devoid of any medical coverage, and simply intended as an empty shell to meet ACA requirements?

  • Bill S

    ” I want you to stop posting under phony names, and for pete’s sake stop commenting on your own posts that you make under other names as if you were talking to/about someone other than yourself.”

    I apologize for trying to get my comments posted by using other names when it appeared that nothing was getting through under my name. But I made one bad joke saying that the other person sounded like an intelligent guy after you called me out on it. I didn’t refer to or comment on posts under other names. I wouldn’t do that.

    I’m sorry for trying to post comments after others were deleted. I didn’t realize how many I had done.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      It’s fine for you to post Bill. Just be a bit more thoughtful about it.