WASHINGTON, DC—Rep. Darin LaHood participated in debate on the House Floor, advocating in support of the Conscience Protection Act (S. 304) which amends the Public Health Service Act to stop Federal, State, and local governments from penalizing, retaliating, or discriminating against a health care provider if that provider chooses not to participate in abortion services.

Some states are currently forcing universities and even churches to cover abortions through their insurance plans. The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) at the Department of Health and Human Services has refused to enforce the Weldon amendment and has allowed the State of California to require that abortion services be included in all health insurance plans under their authority.  Based on this precedent, New York is also planning on implementing a similar abortion mandate.

“I am the proud father of three boys with my wife Kristen, and I am also a practicing Catholic. As both, I stand in defense of the unborn and religious freedom.  I urge my colleagues—regardless of their faith or their thoughts on abortion—to realize that this form of government coercion is immoral,” stated Rep. LaHood during Floor Debate. “Medical professionals should never be forced to violate their deeply held convictions and participate in abortion procedures based on a government mandate. These mandates trample on religious freedom and run contrary to the bedrock of this nation. This bill would prevent such coercion and discrimination.”

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Nurses in particular have been targeted for abortion coercion in a growing number of states across America. In 2010, nine nurses at Nassau University Medical Center were suspended for refusing to take part in an abortion. The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey began requiring nurses to undergo training to facilitate abortions in 2011. In response, this legislation specifies that health care professionals, health care facilities, social services providers, health care professional training programs, and group health plans may not be coerced into performing abortions.

S. 304 passed out of the House Floor with Rep. Darin LaHood’s support on a vote of 245-182.