Congressman John Fleming, M.D. (LA-4) authored a letter that was sent today to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, calling on her to "clearly convey to any state advancing legislation that would impede statutory conscience protections, that doing so would be in direct violation of federal law." The letter, which was signed by 64 Members of Congress, references legislation in the Washington State House and Senate that would be a direct violation of the Hyde/Weldon amendment, federal law that protects providers from discrimination for choosing not to participate in abortions. Congressman Fleming released the following statement after sending the letter:
"President Obama and Secretary Sebelius need to stop the war on religious freedom and conscience protections that they reignited earlier this year. The First Amendment enshrined such safeguards and federal law has consistently upheld them, but recent efforts by the White House have sought to strip away these protections of religious liberty. Recently, the Washington State legislature has taken up the attack on conscience protection laws with bills that have far-reaching and alarming consequences. That's why it's crucial for the Obama Administration to act swiftly to uphold the federal Hyde/Weldon amendment, which preserves the conscience rights of institutions and individual health care providers who object to providing or paying for abortions."