In June, the Department of Health and Human Services finalized a rule under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that reverses an Obama Administration’s redefinition of sex discrimination to include “termination of pregnancy.” The rule change, which goes into effect on August 18th, would enforce federal civil rights laws and reestablish protections for the conscience rights of Americans.
“The Trump Administration’s commitment to conscience rights ensures that doctors, nurses, and hospitals will not be forced to participate in abortions,” said Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life.
On June 12th, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Paul S. Coakley, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop David A. Konderla, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, issued a joint statement praising the decision:
We thank the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for promulgating regulations restoring the long-standing position of the federal government that discrimination on the basis of ‘sex’ means just that….These modifications are consistent with the legislative intent of the Affordable Care Act – to ensure no one is discriminated against in health care because of their sex. These regulations will help restore the rights of health care providers – as well as insurers and employers – who decline to perform or cover abortions…
Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in favor of the Little Sisters of the Poor, presumptive Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden declared that, if elected, he would roll back conscience rights. In a statement from the Biden campaign, the former vice president said, “If I am elected, I will restore the Obama-Biden policy that existed before the Hobby Lobby ruling.” This would roll back conscience rights.
On July 8, the “Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force” released their list of policy recommendations that include a sweeping commitment to abortion on demand:
Democrats believe that every woman should be able to access high-quality reproductive health care services, including safe and legal abortion. We will restore federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides vital preventive and reproductive health care for millions of women, especially low-income women and women of color, and LGBTQ+ people across the country, including in underserved areas. Democrats oppose and will fight to overturn federal and state laws that create barriers to women’s reproductive rights, including repealing the Hyde Amendment, and will work to protect and codify Roe v. Wade.
Planned Parenthood Action Fund has endorsed Joe Biden. In a statement, Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, praised the former vice president:
Biden has committed to champion access to sexual and reproductive health care — including access to abortion — and to fight for our communities. When he left the Senate, Vice President Joe Biden had a 100% voting record from Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and has been clear he is ‘100% for sexual and reproductive health.’ And we are going to hold him to that.
In addition, Planned Parenthood pointedly noted that, “as a candidate, Biden has outlined a range of policies to protect and expand access to reproductive health care, including abortion…”
Among other things, Biden’s promises to Planned Parenthood include:
“protecting the constitutional right to an abortion, including with his judicial nominations, and reversing the Trump Administration and some states’ all-out assault on the right to access abortion;
reversing Trump’s harmful Title X gag rule — which forced Planned Parenthood affiliates and other health centers out of the nation’s only dedicated family planning program — and his dangerous global gag rule, which undermines access to sexual and reproductive health services around the world;”
“The pro-abortion goals of a Biden presidency would violate the conscience rights of millions of Americans, ensure that more and more children would die, and women would be harmed,” said Tobias. “Why would we want to roll back the clock on conscience rights and protections for women and children?”