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Bishops applaud new regulations protecting conscience rights in health care

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WASHINGTON | Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee on Pro-Life Activities and Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chairman of the bishops’ Committee for Religious Liberty, issued a statement May 2 commending the adoption of new regulations that ensure existing laws protecting conscience rights in healthcare are enforced and followed. Their joint statement follows:   

“We strongly commend the Department of Health and Human Services for adopting important new regulations to ensure that existing laws protecting the rights of conscience in health care are known, followed and enforced.  

“Though these laws were passed on a bipartisan basis and have been policy for years, the previous administration did not fully enforce them, and now they are increasingly being violated. Health care providers like New York nurse Cathy DeCarlo and medical trainees have been coerced into participating in the brutal act of abortion against their core beliefs, while churches and others who oppose abortion are being compelled by states like California to cover elective abortion —including late-term abortion— in their health plans. We are grateful that this administration is taking seriously its duty to enforce these fundamental civil rights laws, and we look forward to swift action by HHS to remedy current violations in several states. 

“Conscience protection should not fluctuate as administrations change. It is essential that Congress provide permanent legislative relief through passage of the Conscience Protection Act in order to give victims of discrimination the ability to defend their rights in court. No one should be forced to violate their deeply held convictions about the sanctity of human life.”

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