Under the health care law passed in March 2010, insurers must cover preventive care at no out-of-pocket cost for consumers. The Institute of Medicine recommended that all forms of contraception approved by the Food and Drug Administration be included on the list of covered services, and in January the Obama Administration took that recommendation and included it in the implementation of the law. The rule excluded churches, but did not exclude other religious-oriented groups, such as hospitals, charities, and universities. The Catholic Church does not support the use of birth control, but this new rule would require Catholic-run charities, hospitals, universities, etc., to pay for birth control for their employees.
"This country was founded by people searching for freedom from religious persecution from their government, yet here we are almost four hundred years later and the American people are still suffering through religious persecution by their government," stated Westmoreland. "Unfortunately, the president continues his assault against religious freedom time and again. Well enough is enough. The First Amendment guarantees every American citizen the right to freedom of religion, and that right must be protected. That's why I'm proud to be a cosponsor of H.R. 1179, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act."
H.R. 1179 would protect every American's First Amendment right to freedom of religion by repealing this mandate within ObamaCare. The legislation has garnered bipartisan support from more than 175 Representatives in the House and from more than 35 in the Senate.
"Americans should not be forced to do anything that violates their religious beliefs," stated Westmoreland. "The Catholic Church does not support the use of birth control, and forcing them to pay for it and provide it to the employees at charitable organizations they sponsor violates their First Amendment right guaranteed in the Constitution. I am proud to support H.R. 1179 and I encourage my colleagues in the House to cosponsor the legislation and join me in my fight to restore freedom from religious persecution."
Congressman Westmoreland has joined the other cosponsors of this legislation to encourage Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Reid to bring the legislation to a vote in both the House and Senate. Currently, no vote on the bill has been scheduled.