July 31, 2020

House Democrats Attack Religious Liberty in the Name of Healthcare 

This week, the House of Representatives is voting on the Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2021 (H.R. 7617). This minibus includes the Human Services Appropriations Bill, which always includes language for the Hyde Amendment, which prevents taxpayers from funding abortions except in cases of rape, incest, or if the mother’s life is in danger.

The House Democrats have been unsuccessful this year in striking the Hyde Amendment to expand taxpayer-funded abortion to ALL abortion. But, they are now planning to threaten religious freedom and conscience protections for faith-based medical centers through Lowey Managers Amendment, which was introduced by Rep. Lowey (D-NY) and considered as adopted. 

Page 10 of the amendment reads: 

“None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to implement, enforce, or otherwise give effect to the rule entitled ‘Religious Exemptions and Accommodations for Coverage of Certain Preventative Services Under the Affordable Care Act…or the rule entitled ‘Moral Exemptions and Accommodations for Coverage of Certain Preventative Services Under the Affordable Care Act.” 

In other words, if H.R. 7617 is passed in the Senate as written with the Lowey Managers Amendment, no funds will be used to implement religious exceptions to providing services outlined in the Affordable Care Act. In the recent landmark ruling Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the Little Sisters of the Poor are not required to provide contraception due to their Catholic beliefs. However, if H.R. 7617 is passed as written, groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor will have no protection against their exemption from providing contraception.  

Think about that: the bill sponsors want to force nuns to pay for birth control even though their faith forbids it and even though they fought and won in court. 

The House Rules Committee’s description of the amendment claims that this amendment “Ensures that employer-sponsored health insurance plans include contraceptive coverage.” In their language, Democrats may be claiming they are securing health coverage. In reality, they are violating people’s Constitutional conscience rights and threatening faith-based institutions and organizations by forcing them to provide services that violate their religious beliefs. 

As Students for Life of America and Students for Life Action President Kristan Hawkins has emphasized, “It’s un-American to violate people’s Constitutional freedoms to satisfy those who want to force everyone to pay for their birth control, whether they want it or not.” 

Let’s hope that our Members of Congress and Senators stand up for life and religious liberty as they consider H.R. 7617 and fight the Left’s attacks on religious liberty disguised as “healthcare.”