Rep. Barry Moore (AL-02) joined as an original co-sponsor of the Conscience Protection Act, which would strengthen the rights of healthcare providers to object to medical procedures, namely abortion, that they hold serious moral or religious objections to. Currently, enforcement of existing federal conscience statutes relies on action from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and recent moves by the Biden Administration have made clear that they have little interest in protecting employees from discrimination should they morally or religiously object to participating in certain medical procedures. The Conscience Protection Act would provide a private right of action for employees to defend their conscience rights in court by suing their employer if punished or terminated for registering moral or religious objections. Rep. Andy Harris (MD-01) authored the legislation, which was joined by 99 others including Moore.
“No healthcare providers should be forced by their employers to carry out a medical procedure against their moral and religious objections,” said Moore. “This administration has no right to force a medical professional to terminate the life of an innocent child against their moral and religious objections. I thank Congressman Andy Harris for introducing this important bill and am proud to fight alongside him and so many other of my colleagues for the innocent unborn.”
Earlier this year, HHS Secretary Becerra committed that HHS would follow the law in reference to enforcing existing conscience statutes. Sadly, recent news from Vermont indicates the federal position has changed. In July, the Department of Justice (DOJ) mysteriously dropped a lawsuit initially filed in 2020 against the University of Vermont Medical Center after they were found to have violated existing conscience statute on multiple occasions. Specifically, the investigation by HHS revealed that UVMMC scheduled approximately 10 nurses to assist with approximately 20 abortions despite their registered conscience objections, in clear violation of existing law.
In response to DOJ’s action in dropping suit, Moore joined a bicameral letter to HHS and the DOJ seeking an explanation. The muted response from the Administration may be found by clicking here. These actions by a pro-abortion administration highlight the clear need to pass this bill. An identical version was introduced by Senator Lankford (R-OK) in February 2021.