Co-sponsor Respect for Rights of Conscience Act

On January 20, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reaffirmed a rule that virtually all
private health care plans must cover sterilization, abortifacients, and contraception. The rule is set to take
effect August 1, 2012. Non-profit religious employers that do not now provide such coverage, and are not
exempt under the rule‟s extremely narrow definition of religious employer, will be given one year—until
August 1, 2013—to comply.
Responding to the announcement, Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and
president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, stated: “In effect, the president is saying we have a
year to figure out how to violate our consciences.” Cardinal-designate Dolan continued: “To force
Americans to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their healthcare is literally
unconscionable. . . It is as much an attack on access to health care as on religious freedom.” Noting that the
Obama administration “has now drawn an unprecedented line in the sand,” the Cardinal-designate urged that
the HHS mandate be overturned. “The Catholic bishops are committed to working with our fellow
Americans to reform the law and change this unjust regulation.” SeeFor more information, see
Last August, the HHS issued a list of “preventive services for women” to be mandated in almost all private
health plans under the new health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The
mandated services include sterilization, all FDA-approved birth control (such as the IUD, Depo-Provera,
„morning-after‟ pills, and the abortion-inducing drug Ella), and “education and counseling” to promote these
among all “women of reproductive capacity.” HHS‟s interim final rule allowed only a very narrow
exemption for a “religious employer.” The January 20 announcement makes this interim rule final.
To correct the threats to religious liberty and rights of conscience posed by PPACA, the Respect for Rights
of Conscience Act has been introduced in Congress (H.R. 1179, S. 1467). This measure will ensure that
those who participate in the health care system “retain the right to provide, purchase, or enroll in health
coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions.” It is more important than ever
that Members of Congress be urged to co-sponsor this measure. For co-sponsors, please checaat
ACTION: Contact your U.S. Representative and two Senators by e-mail, phone, or FAX letter:
 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 at:  Additional contact info can be found on Members‟ web sites at:and
MESSAGE: “Please co-sponsor the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179, S. 1467) and help
enact it into law. The Obama administration‟s decision to require even religious institutions to provide
coverage of sterilization and contraceptives, including drugs that can cause an abortion, makes passage of
this measure especially urgent. Please ensure that the rights of conscience of all participants in our nation‟s
health care system are respected.”
WHEN: Now is the time to build co-sponsors. Please act today! Thanks! Updated 1/31/12

Source: http://diometuchen.org/assets/Uploads/Documents/RespectforLife-2/RightsofConscienceAct1-31-12.pdf

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