(CNS) — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and 32 other organizations
have signed a joint letter of support for the Conscience Protection Act of 2017.
The bill, which has House and Senate versions, is intended to close loopholes that ignore the conscience rights of medical
professionals on abortion, according to the signed letter.
many ‘pro-choice’ Americans realize that the logic of their (opponents’)
position requires them to respect a choice not to be involved in abortion,”
said the letter, dated Sept. 6 and addressed to senators.
with violations of federal conscience laws occurring in California, New York,
Washington, Alaska, Illinois, and most recently Oregon, it is increasingly
clear that the current laws offer far less protection in practice than in
theory,” the letter added.
conscience laws do not authorize a ‘private right of action’ allowing the
victims of discrimination to sue on their own behalf, and allowing courts to
take measured action to end this discrimination,” it said.
backers say the bill “would mean almost no change in the substantive
policy of Congress” but “would be an enormous step forward in
assuring Americans who serve the sick and needy that they can do so without
being forced by the government to violate their most deeply held convictions on
respect for innocent human life.”
House passed an identical bill last year, 245-182.
Catholic signatories of the letter included the Catholic Medical Association,
the Knights of Columbus, the National Council of Catholic Women, the National Catholic
Bioethics Center, the National Association of Catholic Nurses, the Catholic
Benefits Association, Catholic Healthcare International and the Franciscan
signers included the National Right to Life Committee, the Alliance Defending
Freedom, the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the
National Association of Evangelicals, the March for Life Education and Defense
Fund, the American College of Pediatricians and the Susan B. Anthony List.
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