Republicans in Congress took action Friday to protect medical workers from being forced to help abort unborn babies amid growing concerns about the Biden administration’s commitment to religious liberty.
Fox News reports U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-Maryland, led 100 lawmakers in introducing the Conscience Protection Act to Defend Rights of Health Care Providers to make sure conscience rights are being enforced.
“Defending the conscience rights of healthcare providers should be of great interest to all Americans, and is of grave importance to me as a physician, especially in light of recent failures to do so by the Biden Administration,” Harris said.
An anesthesiologist, Harris raised concerns that Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra is not doing his job to protect health care workers’ conscience rights.
Especially alarming was the Biden administration’s recent decision to drop a lawsuit against a taxpayer-funded Vermont hospital accused of tricking a pro-life nurse into helping abort an unborn baby. Republican leaders in Congress sent a letter to the HHS secretary demanding answers about the decision, but Becerra’s response earlier this month did not answer any of their questions, the Daily Signal reports.
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“Xavier Becerra is too busy protecting hospitals that violate the rights of their nurses to give a straight answer,” U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, told The Daily Signal on Monday. “The Biden administration needs to answer for why its health secretary is sabotaging federal conscience protection laws.”
Harris said the Biden administration’s actions make his bill especially necessary.
“Secretary Becerra had committed to House Appropriators that he would ensure the protection of the legal rights of conscience for providers – but sadly this has not occurred,” Harris said. “Therefore, this bill is necessary to dissuade employers from threatening or taking retaliation for actions by healthcare providers that should be, but aren’t being protected by this administration.”
The legislation has the support of many pro-life and religious groups. According to Fox News, Catholic Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said the bill is more “vital than ever” now that the Biden administration is refusing to protect health care workers’ fundamental rights.
“It is hard to imagine a more blatant civil rights violation than being forced to abandon your beliefs and take part in ending an innocent human life,” Lori said. “We have said before that the need for the Conscience Protection Act cannot be questioned. The need is more vital now than ever.”
The Vermont nurse’s case is just one of many troubling actions by the Biden administration in recent months. Earlier this week, Fox News reported about a new HHS memo that calls for limiting the powers of a federal office tasked with enforcing religious freedom in cases like the pro-life nurse’s.