By: Rich Doerflinger
Original Article: http://www.nchla.org/actiondisplay.asp?ID=287
In the face of a growing national campaign to force health care providers to participate in abortion, it is essential that Congress take action to protect the civil rights of health care professionals and other health care entities. The Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA) would close loopholes in current law and provide clear support for victims’ right to sue in court. The House of Representatives has included the text of ANDA in its draft Labor/HHS appropriations bill, expected to be one of the last bills passed at the end of this year — but pro-abortion members in House and Senate are trying to block it. You can tell them what you think about that — you may help preserve your own local doctor’s or hospital’s right to provide care.
In January, the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA) was introduced in the House by Reps. John Fleming (R-LA) and Dan Boren (D-OK) (H.R. 361) and in the Senate by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) (S. 165). ANDA strengthens existing federal conscience protection laws. It affirms the principle that no health care entity should be forced by government to perform or participate in abortions.
A 1996 law prohibits governmental discrimination against health care entities because they decline to train in, perform, or arrange for abortions. In 2004, through passage of the Hyde/Weldon Amendment, Congress extended the 1996 law’s protection to the full range of health care entities and prohibited discrimination also when the health care entities do “not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.” The Hyde/Weldon Amendment has been part of the annual Labor/Health and Human Services appropriations bills since then.
ANDA will codify the Hyde/Weldon Amendment by making it permanent law. It will allow federal courts to provide the remedies needed to stop discrimination. It also will enhance enforceability. Health care entities may initiate legal action to defend their conscience rights; the U.S. Attorney General may also initiate action on their behalf. The Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services may also investigate claims of discrimination, in coordination with the Attorney General.
In letters to Congress, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, urged Members to support and co-sponsor ANDA. The Cardinal noted: “Pro-abortion advocacy groups have vowed to force out of the health care system any provider who does not conform to their own ideological stance on abortion.” For the Cardinal’s letters, see: nchla.org/datasource/idocuments/HR361_USCCB.pdf and nchla.org/datasource/idocuments/andalettersenate2011.pdf. For a fact sheet presenting evidence that conscience protection laws are not a threat to women’s lives, see: nchla.org/datasource/idocuments/3%20wellifefact%201%202011.pdf.
For current sponsors of H.R. 361, see: thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:HR00361:@@@P. For current sponsors of S. 165, see: thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:S00165:@@@P.
ACTION: Contact your Representative and Senators by e-mail, phone, FAX letter or U.S. Mail:
- Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121, or call your Members’ local offices.
- Send an e-mail through NCHLA’s Grassroots Action Center. Click HERE.
- Additional contact info can be found on Members’ web sites at: www.house.gov or www.senate.gov.
MESSAGE: “Please cosponsor and support the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 361/S. 165). No health care entity should be forced by government to perform or participate in abortions.”
WHEN: Please contact your Representative and Senators today. Thanks!