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Engel Statement on House Passage of Conscience Protection Act of 2016

Engel Statement on House Passage of Conscience Protection Act of 2016  

WASHINGTON, DC— Congressman Eliot L. Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee, released the following statement on the House passage of the Conscience Protection Act of 2016:

“The Conscience Protection Act is the latest in a long line of Republican attempts to interfere with women’s autonomy and medical care.

“I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve come to the floor during this Congress to defend a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions – a concept that, frankly, shouldn’t need a defense at all.

“My Republican colleagues are marketing this bill as one that would protect ‘conscience rights.’ But let’s be clear: current law already allows health professionals to object to providing abortions for moral or religious reasons. The Conscience Protection Act would take this concept to a new extreme, expanding opportunities for employers to discriminate against women based on their reproductive health choices.

“We’ve said this before and we’ll say it again: women’s personal health care decisions are not their bosses’ business. Every patient should be able to make fully-informed decisions about her health care, without interference from her employer, and certainly without interference from Congress. That’s why I voted against this senseless attack on American women.”

To see Congressman Engel’s floor remarks on the Conscience Protection Act please click here.

Background:

Under current law, health care professionals may refuse to provide abortions for moral or religious reasons. The Conscience Rights Protection Act would expand this policy to include employers that offer health insurance, allowing employers to curtail a woman’s access to comprehensive health coverage. As a result, under the Conscience Rights Protection Act, employers’ personal beliefs might prevent women who seek abortions from accessing safe services.

In addition, the bill would permit any “health care entity” to refuse to “facilitate” abortion care. Such language fails to guarantee women complete, accurate medical information, thereby allowing broadly-defined “entities” afford women subpar medical care.

The Conscience Protection Act passed in the full House on July 13, 2016.