Federal - HR 644

Conscience Protection Act


January 24, 2017


<p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 17px; padding: 0px; font-size: 14px; direction: ltr; font-family: PTSans, sans-serif; line-height: 1.4em; font-stretch: normal;"><strong><a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/644?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22hr+644%22%5D%7D&amp;r=1" target="_blank"><span style="color:#FF0000;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 1.6;">Bill summary and progress</span></span></a></strong></p>

<p style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px 0px 17px; padding: 0px; font-size: 14px; direction: ltr; font-family: PTSans, sans-serif; line-height: 1.4em; font-stretch: normal;"><span style="box-sizing: border-box; line-height: 1.6;">This bill ensures that individuals and health care professionals are not forced with the choice of violating their conscience or paying a fine.</span></p>

Our Position



In August of 2014, the California Department of Managed Care (DMHC) issued a directive requiring all plans under the DMHC authority to immediately include coverage for all legal abortions even if the abortion-excluding plan had been previously approved by DMHC.  As a result abortion was immediately inserted into the plans of pro-life churches and schools without their consent. This action was taken despite the Weldon amendment which clearly states that no funds may be made available to a state if the state subjects a health care entity (including insurance plans) to discrimination because it does not provide coverage of abortion. The only recourse for victims of a violation of the Weldon amendment is to file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services.  Complaints were filed in the fall of 2014 by the California Catholic Conference and a group of evangelical churches.  An investigation was opened in December of 2014 after pro-life Members of Congress urged the Secretary to do so. In June of last year, HHS Office of Civil Rights (OCR) released the results of its investigation into the California abortion mandate, stating it found no violation and is closing its investigation of these complaints without further action. The OCR’s decision is based on a flawed reading of the Weldon amendment.  They argue that the Weldon amendment only protects health insurance plans, and not the purchasers of such plans, and state that the insurance companies have not complained.  To say that a previously existing plan that excluded abortion must be discontinued is discriminatory against the life-affirming abortion-free plan.  Whether the insurance company objects or not, the mandate is discriminatory.  Furthermore, OCR states that the insurance companies do not hold a religious or moral objection to covering abortion.  The Weldon amendment is not limited to religious or moral objections.  It is not even based on an objection being raised.  It simply states no funds may be made available to a government that subjects a health care entity (health plan in this case) to discrimination on the basis that the entity “does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortion.”

The Conscience Protection Act directly addresses this situation and allows victims of discrimination to go directly to court rather than the appeal to HHS when a violation has occurred.

Original Sponsor 1

Co-Sponsors 139

Latest Actions See More/Less

  • Sept. 6, 2018 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Gianforte, (R-Mont.)
  • Aug. 3, 2018 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Posey, (R-Fla.)
  • April 23, 2018 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Culberson, (R-Texas)
  • April 17, 2018 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Newhouse, (R-Wash.)
  • April 11, 2018 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Byrne, (R-Ala.)
  • March 14, 2018 — Additional cosponsor(s): 3

    Crawford, (R-Ark.)DesJarlais, (R-Tenn.)Handel, (R-Ga.)
  • March 7, 2018 — Additional cosponsor(s): 2

    Smith, Adrian (R-Neb.)Williams, (R-Texas)
  • March 5, 2018 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Duffy, (R-Wis.)
  • Jan. 25, 2018 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Burgess, (R-Texas)
  • Dec. 6, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Gosar, (R-Ariz.)
  • Dec. 5, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    King, S. (R-Iowa)
  • Dec. 1, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Jenkins, L. (R-Kan.)
  • Nov. 7, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Weber, (R-Texas)
  • Oct. 2, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Zeldin, (R-N.Y.)
  • Sept. 27, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Scott, A. (R-Ga.)
  • Sept. 26, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Norman, (R-S.C.)
  • Sept. 25, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Long, (R-Mo.)
  • Sept. 21, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Kustoff, (R-Tenn.)
  • Sept. 18, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 3

    Graves, T. (R-Ga.)Joyce, (R-Ohio)Sessions, (R-Texas)
  • Sept. 12, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 2

    Davidson, (R-Ohio)Labrador, (R-Idaho)
  • Sept. 11, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Gallagher, (R-Wis.)
  • Sept. 6, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Bergman, (R-Mich.)
  • Sept. 1, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 5

    Abraham, (R-La.)Collins, D. (R-Ga.)Ratcliffe, (R-Texas)
    Bishop, R. (R-Utah)Jenkins, E. (R-W.Va.)
  • July 20, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Massie, (R-Ky.)
  • April 25, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Bishop, M. (R-Mich.)
  • April 6, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    McKinley, (R-W.Va.)
  • April 4, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 4

    Bacon, (R-Neb.)LaHood, (R-Ill.)
    Conaway, (R-Texas)Palmer, (R-Ala.)
  • March 23, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 2

    Arrington, (R-Texas)Walker, (R-N.C.)
  • March 22, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Young, David (R-Iowa)
  • March 15, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 4

    Bucshon, (R-Ind.)Messer, (R-Ind.)
    Goodlatte, (R-Va.)Smucker, (R-Pa.)
  • March 9, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 3

    Johnson, S. (R-Texas)McClintock, (R-Calif.)Wittman, (R-Va.)
  • Feb. 28, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 4

    Ferguson, (R-Ga.)Hartzler, (R-Mo.)
    Grothman, (R-Wis.)Higgins, C. (R-La.)
  • Feb. 15, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 3

    Lipinski, D. (D-Ill.)Marshall, (R-Kan.)Turner, M. (R-Ohio)
  • Feb. 14, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Peterson, C. (D-Minn.)
  • Feb. 1, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 1

    Collins, C. (R-N.Y.)
  • Jan. 31, 2017 — Additional cosponsor(s): 8

    Amash, (R-Mich.)Griffith, (R-Va.)Murphy, T. (R-Pa.)
    Emmer, (R-Minn.)Jordan, (R-Ohio)Renacci, (R-Ohio)
    Flores, (R-Texas)Love, (R-Utah)
  • Jan. 24, 2017 — Original cosponsor(s): 72

    Aderholt, R. (R-Ala.)Guthrie, (R-Ky.)Olson, (R-Texas)
    Allen, (R-Ga.)Harris, A. (R-Md.)Palazzo, (R-Miss.)
    Babin, (R-Texas)Hensarling, (R-Texas)Pearce, (R-N.M.)
    Biggs, (R-Ariz.)Hice, (R-Ga.)Perry, (R-Pa.)
    Bilirakis, G. (R-Fla.)Hill, (R-Ark.)Pittenger, (R-N.C.)
    Blackburn, M. (R-Tenn.)Hudson, (R-N.C.)Poe, (R-Texas)
    Brady, K. (R-Texas)Huizenga, (R-Mich.)Roby, (R-Ala.)
    Brat, (R-Va.)Hultgren, (R-Ill.)Roe, (R-Tenn.)
    Bridenstine, (R-Okla.)Johnson, B. (R-Ohio)Rokita, (R-Ind.)
    Banks, (R-Ind.)Johnson, (R-La.)Rooney, T. (R-Fla.)
    Carter, E.L. (R-Ga.)Jones, (R-N.C.)Roskam, (R-Ill.)
    Chabot, (R-Ohio)Kelly, (R-Pa.)Rothfus, (R-Pa.)
    Cramer, (R-N.D.)Kelly, (R-Miss.)Rutherford, (R-Fla.)
    Davis, R. (R-Ill.)LaMalfa, (R-Calif.)Scalise, (R-La.)
    Duncan, Jeff (R-S.C.)Lamborn, (R-Colo.)Smith, C. (R-N.J.)
    Duncan, John (R-Tenn.)Latta, (R-Ohio)Stewart, (R-Utah)
    Farenthold, (R-Texas)Loudermilk, (R-Ga.)Wagner, (R-Mo.)
    Fleischmann, (R-Tenn.)Luetkemeyer, (R-Mo.)Walberg, (R-Mich.)
    Fortenberry, (R-Neb.)Marchant, (R-Texas)Walorski, (R-Ind.)
    Foxx, (R-N.C.)Meadows, (R-N.C.)Webster, (R-Fla.)
    Franks, T. (R-Ariz.)Mitchell, (R-Mich.)Wenstrup, (R-Ohio)
    Gibbs, B. (R-Ohio)Moolenaar, (R-Mich.)Wilson, J. (R-S.C.)
    Gohmert, (R-Texas)Mooney, (R-W.Va.)Yoder, (R-Kan.)
    Graves, S. (R-Mo.)Noem, (R-S.D.)Yoho, (R-Fla.)
  • Jan. 24, 2017 — Read twice and referred to: House Energy and Commerce.Congressional Record p. H683

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