Congressmen Call for Conscience Protection

Two members of Congress have called on President Barack Obama to make good on something he said in his May 17 speech to University of Notre Dame graduates, namely that he wished to "honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion." At a May 19 press conference in Washington, D.C., and in a letter sent that day to the president, Representatives James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and Chris Smith, R-N.J., urged Obama to forgo rescinding the Bush administration's conscience-protection regulation. They also asked Obama to "commit to defending conscience protections in future rule-making."

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services proposed to rescind the conscience clause that gives federal protection to the conscience rights of health care providers. The rule, which took effect two days before Obama took office, codifies three longtime federal statutes prohibiting discrimination against health professionals who decline to participate in abortions or other medical procedures because of their religious or moral objections. The congressmen's letter stressed that Obama should use all the tools at his disposal "to keep conscience protections in place and reduce the number of abortions in the United States."

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

John F. Kennedy’s austere brand of patriotism still shines.
John J. ConleySeptember 19, 2017
Pope Francis greets people as he arrives to visit the Shrine of St. Peter Claver in Cartagena, Colombia, on Sept. 10. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
A Colombian Jesuit reflects on the visit of Pope Francis to his country.
Esteban Morales Herrera, SJSeptember 19, 2017
Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., left, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., right, talk while walking to a meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington in July. Senate Republicans are planning a final, uphill push to erase President Barack Obama's health care law. But Democrats and their allies are going all-out to stop the drive. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
“The health of the American people is incredibly important...you just don’t railroad something through, something you’ve just whipped together in the last couple of weeks.”
Kevin ClarkeSeptember 19, 2017
The absurdity of "BoJack Horseman" offers an unrelenting, often devastating look into our own humanity.
Eve TushnetSeptember 19, 2017