"Forcing organizations and individuals to violate their religious convictions is a threat to fundamental human liberties," Edward Dolejsi, executive director of the California Catholic Conference, said June 22.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Co-chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, said the Weldon Amendment in fact protects against "state-imposed abortion mandates."
"This decision illustrates the far reaches of Obama's radical pro-abortion ideology – forcing churches and communities of faith that have pro-life convictions to participate in and pay for a practice that dismembers and chemically poisons unborn children," he charged.
"Congress must not let this discrimination stand," Rep. Smith continued. "We must take this issue out of the hands of the Obama Administration by moving enforcement of current conscience protections to the courts. Congress needs to enact legislation so churches and other victims have a 'private right of action' so they can have their day in court."
Cardinal Dolan and Archbishop Lori called on Congress to pass the Conscience Protection Act, saying this would "stop further discrimination against people of faith and against all who respect unborn human life."
Dolejsi said the state rule is "clearly discrimination" and the Catholic conference will continue to advocate for relief.
At the time the California Catholic Conference filed its complaint, Bishop Robert McElroy said Catholic beliefs about life and human dignity "animate and shape our Catholic ministries."
"It's why we oppose abortion, but it is also why Catholic schools provide education, Catholic hospitals care for the poor and vulnerable and why Catholic social services provide assistance to people and families in need," he said. "It goes to the core of our moral beliefs."
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