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Public Statements


Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HOLT. I thank my friend from New York.

This is an important subject. As previous speakers have made clear, birth control is fundamental to women's health, just like cholesterol testing and any number of other things. And decades of evidence show that planned births produce healthier babies and healthier mothers. Anyone who is working as a health care aide or a nurse or working in a religiously affiliated social service agency would want health care provided to them that is not discriminatory, and that includes the range of services that provide for good health.

Purely religious organizations would be, are, have been and will be exempt. But when an institution, even if affiliated with religion, chooses to provide public services and accept public money, they must follow public fair employment practices and not discriminate in hiring or salary or benefits. And now, under the Affordable Care Act, they also may not discriminate against women and women's services in providing health care benefits.

That's what we're talking about here. It's really quite straightforward. Expanding the religious exemption to religious institutions that employ people of all faiths would take preventive services away from millions of Americans, would result in substandard health care for far too many women in our country, and it would allow religious institutions to be able to discriminate against employees of different faiths.

It's only fair. It's only what has become recognized by the courts, by the public, and by general public mores as the right thing to do. And now under the health care act, it would be institutionalized for all agencies except purely religious agencies that hire only in one faith.

So, Mr. Speaker, I think there's been a lot of misinformation about this. I hope tonight's discussion has helped to clarify the matter.

With that, I am pleased to yield back to my friend from New York.


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