Washington D.C., Nov 8, 2017 / 17:02 pm
Pro-life health care workers and institutions need stronger legal protections from pressure to help provide abortions, backers of proposed federal legislation have said.
"Healthcare is about saving life, eradicating disease, mitigating disability -not taking life," U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) said Nov. 8. "At the very least, health care providers should have the right to not be coerced into facilitating abortion. Coercive anti-conscience policies are not only highly unethical but blatantly illegal. The law couldn't be clearer on this matter."
He spoke at a D.C. press conference in support of the Conscience Protection Act, which would protect health care workers from federal, state, and local abortion mandates if they conscientiously object to assisting with abortions. It would also protect religious employers from having to cover elective abortions in their health plans, and establishes a "right of action" in court for all entities if they believe their religious beliefs on the matter are violated.
Backers of the bill say that health care professionals with objections to abortion are not sufficiently protected in the workplace. Medical professionals who believe their conscience rights have been violated must file a grievance with the civil rights office at the Department of Health and Human Services. Some complaints reportedly sit undecided for months or years.