Washington D.C., Mar 6, 2018 / 15:23 pm
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a statement asking people to pray, call, and write to their Congressional representatives to urge the inclusion of the Conscience Protection Act in the government’s upcoming funding bill.
The statement, issued by Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, chair of the conference’s pro-life committee, and Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, chair of the religious liberty committee, urges Catholics to “flood” their members of Congress in support of the act.
“Increasing and fierce attacks on conscience rights regarding abortion cry out for an immediate remedy,” said the archbishops. “Nurses and other health care providers and institutions are being forced to choose between participating in abortions or leaving health care altogether.”
While the bishops’ conference is encouraging action each day until the bill is enacted, they are especially focusing on Monday, March 12 as a day of action. The funding deadline is March 23.
The Conscience Protection Act would protect physicians and nurses from being forced to engage in procedures that violate their conscience, such as abortion or sterilization.
It would also prevent employers from being forced to cover abortions in their health care plans if the procedure violates their conscience beliefs. Currently, three states--California, Oregon, and New York--require most or all insurance plans to cover abortion.
“Opponents and supporters of abortion should be able to agree that no one should be forced to participate in abortion,” reads the bishops’ statement. “Congress must remedy this problem by enacting the Conscience Protection Act now as part of the FY 2018 funding bill.”
Failure to pass this legislation could result in prejudice against pro-life or religious employees, said Dr. Michael Parker of the Catholic Medical Association.