Time Running Out for Congress to Stop the HHS Abortion Mandate, Help Needed

National   William Saunders and Mary Novick   May 28, 2013   |   11:08AM    Washington, DC

Time is running out to protect the freedom of conscience guaranteed by the First Amendment. But, by acting now to urge Congress to pass the conscience protections in H.R. 940, the Health Care Conscience Rights Act—those rights can be protected.

Sadly, the very coercive HHS mandate under the Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare) takes full effect as of August 1st. Currently for-profit businesses, despite the religious beliefs of their owners, must provide coverage of sterilizations and life-ending drugs and devices including the abortion-inducing drug ella—even if doing so violates their most cherished religious convictions. Some religious non-profit organizations are shielded from that, but as of August 1, even those conscience protections will expire.

While issues surrounding this mandate are being litigated, that provides no consolation—there will be no definitive decision by the Supreme Court before August 1. Thus, conscientious business owners will certainly find themselves between the proverbial rock and a hard place—having to choose between fines so great they force a shutdown (at $100 per employee per day) or violation of their Constitutionally-guaranteed rights of conscience.

Congress must act to correct this abuse. The time is now to pass H.R. 940, the Health Care Rights of Conscience Act.

First, H.R. 940 protects people affected by the coercive HHS Mandate. And it goes further: by protecting people subject to other kinds of abortion-related discrimination and violations of conscience rights. It even adds a private right of action (a right to sue in court) for people who are denied their conscience rights, such as Cathy Decarlo—the nurse from New York who was forced to participate in a late-term abortion.

There are three ways that you can encourage Congress to pass H.R. 940, the Health Care Conscience Rights Act:

1.) You can visit your Representatives in their district offices. This week, May 28-June 1, is their constituent-work week. This is the week that Congressmen are in their districts and available to meet with constituents there. Call the district office of your Representative to set up a meeting. Then meet with your Representative and explain how important it is to you and your community that Congress restores legal protections for freedom of conscience that have been attacked by the HHS Mandate. Tell your Representative that you support H.R. 940.

2.) You can email your Congressman and tell him or her to protect freedom of conscience by including H.R. 940 in “must pass” legislation.

3.) You can write a letter to the editor for your local newspaper urging your Congressman to ensure that any “must pass” legislation include the protections for freedom of conscience in H.R. 940. Letters to the editor are a great way to send a loud and clear message to your Representatives asking them to take action to protect freedom of conscience.

Your Congressmen need your encouragement to act on this important issue. Time is running out before the coercive HHS Mandate takes full effect, and ordinary Americans have to decide if they are going to close their doors or violate their consciences rights. Contact your Representative today!

LifeNews Note: William Saunders and Mary Novick write for Americans United for Life Action.