U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-3) announced that he is co-sponsoring legislation stipulating that nothing in Obamacare can be construed to authorize a health plan provider or sponsor to provide, participate in or refer for a specific item or service contrary to the provider's or sponsor's religious beliefs or moral convictions including abortions.
Luetkemeyer's support for the bill, titled the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, comes just days after a federal judge in Missouri ruled unconstitutional a state law passed by the Legislature last year requiring insurers to issue policies without contraception coverage if individuals or employers objected due to religious or moral beliefs. There has been no indication if the Missouri attorney general will appeal the federal court's decision.
"As a vocal supporter of the unborn, I find it unconscionable that the government is trying to order people to ignore their consciences and their personal religious beliefs. I believe Congress needs to step up and provide leadership on this issue not only for Missourians, but for all Americans," Luetkemeyer said. "This is just another example of how far-reaching and damaging Obamacare really is to Americans."
The federal bill would also amend the Public Health Service Act to include conscience protections and codify the Hyde-Weldon Amendment that has been renewed since 2004 in the Labor, Health and Human Service (LHHS) appropriations bills to prevent government discrimination against health care workers who object to participating in abortion. Finally, it would offer victims of discrimination the ability to vindicate their rights in court without needing to exhaust possible remedies through HHS, which has not been impartial.