.- An official with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has praised Congress for passing the Hyde-Weldon Conscience Protection Amendment Saturday.
The amendment, part of an omnibus-spending bill, provides protection against discrimination for hospitals and health care providers who decline to provide, pay for, or refer for abortions.
"We applaud Congress' recognition that hospitals and other health care providers should have a right to choose not to be involved in destroying life," said Cathy Cleaver Ruse, Esq., director of Planning and Information for the USCCB Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities.
Ruse pointed out that hospitals in Alaska, New Jersey, and New Mexico have been discriminated against because of their pro-life policies.
Current federal law already protects "health care entities" from having to perform or provide for abortions. The Hyde-Weldon Conscience Protection Amendment was needed because current law had been misinterpreted to protect only individual physicians and training programs, leaving hospitals, health plans, nurses, and other health care participants without protection, Ruse explained.