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Senator Lankford Applauds House Passage of Conscience Protection Act

WASHINGTON, DC — Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today applauded the House of Representatives for passing the Conscience Protection Act (S.304), a bill that protects health care providers, including health care professionals, entities and health insurance plans from government discrimination if they decline to participate in abortions. Lankford introduced a companion bill in the Senate in May.

“The Conscience Protection Act protects the ability of health care providers to provide medical care without violating their deepest held values,” said Lankford. “Americans have very different views about abortion, but we should not force anyone to provide coverage. The House has made an important step to ensure every American has the ability to defend their religious or moral beliefs without fear of discrimination, now it is time for the Senate to also vote.”

Currently, if a health care provider, including insurance plans, refuses to provide abortions the only recourse is to file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In 2014, California started requiring health plans cover abortions, which forced religious employers to offer plans that violate their religious beliefs. In December 2014, an investigation was opened by HHS and, in spite of current federal law, in June 2016, they declared that California can force all of its health plans to cover elective abortions. The Conscience Protection Act provides a right of action for victims of discrimination.   

Lankford has been an active voice in the protection of life and religious freedom. Last year, Lankford introduced the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, which ensures organizations, private businesses, institutions of higher education, health care providers, and insurance companies are not forced to sponsor insurance coverage that violates their religious or moral beliefs.