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Pitts to Lead Forum on Protecting Conscience Rights


Recent HHS Ruling Promotes Government Discrimination Against Health Care Entities

WASHINGTON, DC – The House Energy and Commerce Committee today announced that it will host a forum discussion on conscience rights on Friday, July 8, 2016, at 9 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The discussion will be led by Health Subcommittee Chairman Joseph Pitts (R-PA). Participants will discuss the importance of preventing government discrimination against doctors, nurses, hospitals, and other health care entities who refuse to participate in abortions. No American should be forced to participate in such a brutal and controversial procedure.

“Health care entities should be in the business of caring for their patients, not being forced to perform or pay for abortions,” said Chairman Pitts. “We need commonsense protections so that health care entities are not forced into taking part in abortion. It is an outrage that currently there is no judicial recourse for entities affected by such discrimination.”

Two years ago, the California Department of Managed Care issued a mandate to private market health care plans in California requiring they cover all abortions as a “basic health care service.” This sudden announcement even included late-term and gender selective abortions. The mandate is in direct violation of the Weldon Amendment, which was first enacted in 2004. Religious leaders adversely impacted by the decision filed a complaint with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights, which recently dramatically reinterpreted the Weldon Amendment to suit their goal of allowing California’s discrimination to continue.

“There is growing concern that other states may follow California’s lead. Congress needs to act, and this forum will be a good next step in that process,” added Chairman Pitts.


Marie-Alberte Boursiquot – M.D., F.A.C.P., President-elect of the Catholic Medical Association

William J. “Bill” Cox – President of the Alliance of Catholic Health Care

Cathy DeCarlo – Nurse, New York

Richard Doerflinger – Former Associate Director of the Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops

Pastor Jim Garlow – Skyline Church, La Mesa, California

Donna J. Harrison, M.D. – Executive Director of the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Pastor Chris Lewis – Foothill Church, Glendora, California

Casey Mattox – Senior Counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom

Fe Vinoya – Nurse, New Jersey

Dr. Dave Weldon – former Member of Congress and author of the Weldon Amendment, which was written to provide protections for entities that do not participate in abortion

Click HERE for more information on the forum, or to watch online during the event.


Health (114th Congress)
Press Release