Protection of Conscience Project
Protection of Conscience Project
Service, not Servitude

Service, not Servitude
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Commentaries on Federal Laws and Regulations

The commentaries provided on the website are not a substitute for legal advice provided by a qualified professional. 

HHS Nondiscrimination Regulation
Proposed Regulation: 80 Fed. Reg. 54172 (Sept. 8, 2015).

  • Joint letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

    • United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
    •  National Association of Evangelicals
    •  Christian Medical Association
    •  Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance
    •  Christian Legal Society
    •  World Vision (US)
    •  Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
    •  Liberty Institute
    •  Family Research Council
    •  National Catholic Bioethics Center

Re:  Dept. of Health & Human Services 'contraceptive' mandate (2012)  Regulation 45 CFR Part 147

  • In early 2012, pursuing health care reforms based on the new Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration decided that, individual women should not have to pay for "FDA approved contraceptive services," which include surgical sterilization, contraceptives, and embryocides.  The reasons offered for this policy are mainly economic and socio-political.  Since sterilization and birth control have to be paid for by someone, the administration decided to force others to pay for them through insurance plans, even if they object to doing so for reasons of conscience or religion.  The policy is highly controversial. 

    The following documents have been annotated and linked in order to clarify the nature and scope of the controversy.

Proposed amendment to 'contraceptive' mandate (2013)

The 'contraceptive' mandate (2012)

Background (2011-2012)

Hobby Lobby Case and What It Says About Corporations With a Conscience
If people want to deny corporations a conscience, how can they ever again demand that corporations act morally, conscientiously?

  • Paul De Vries  |  The Supreme Court was right to allow corporations to be exempt from the mandate to pay for abortion pills or contraception when their leaders have established religious reasons against them. Moral issues can stand as questions for the liberty of conscience – whether individual conscience or corporate conscience.
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Re: Regulation 45 CFR Part 88

  • In the fall of 2008, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the outgoing Bush administration passed a regulation to safeguard freedom of conscience for healthcare workers.  The rule came into effect at the end of January, 2009, just before President Barack Obama took office.  President Obama's administration eviscerated the regulation in 2011 to remove the safeguards enacted under President Bush, even though the title of the regulation remained unchanged.

Obama Administration Final Rule (2011)

Bush Administration Final Rule (2008-2009)

Re:  Hearing: Freedom of Conscience for Small Pharmacies
(25 July, 2005)

Opening Statement of Chairman Manzullo

  • . . .The subject before this Committee today deals with the negative impact on small pharmacies that operate under the strict law that requires pharmacists to fill all prescriptions - even if doing so violates their moral and professional beliefs. I also want to discuss alternatives that will ensure that women who want a certain prescription have access to it, while preserving the integrity of the pharmacist. . .
    Full Text

Prepared Remarks of Mr. Luke Vander Bleek, R.Ph.

  • . . . I object that any private business should be required by government to offer for sale any particular product or service. Additionally, I have strong professional and moral objections to this executive requirement being placed on my business. . .
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Prepared Remarks of Ms. Sheila Nix

  • . . .The Governor's rule clarified a retail pharmacy's duty to dispense contraceptive medication without delay. The rule does not apply to individual pharmacists; it applies to pharmacies. This rule was not intended to - nor does it - pertain to health care right of conscious legislation or encroach on an individual pharmacist exercising his or her beliefs. . .
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Prepared Remarks of Mr. J. Michael Patton, M.S., CAE

  • . . .Unfortunately, what we are now finding is that some individuals are now testing select pharmacies to discern the willingness of the pharmacy to fill their prescription. A case in point is a woman who would drive over 100 miles to a very small rural pharmacy to get her prescription filled when she had passed multiple metropolitan areas. . .
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Prepared Remarks of Ms. Linda Garrelts MacLean, R.Ph., CDE

  • APhA recognizes the individual pharmacist's right to exercise conscientious refusal and supports the establishment of systems to ensure [the] patient's access to legally prescribed therapy without compromising the pharmacist's right of conscientious refusal.  . . . In sum, our policy supports a pharmacist 'stepping away' from participating but not 'stepping in the way' of the patient accessing the therapy.
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Prepared Remarks of Ms. Megan Kelly

  • . . . When I went to pick up my medication, the pharmacist on duty said she would not fill my prescriptions because of her beliefs, and that I would have to get my prescriptions filled elsewhere. I was shocked. . .
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Re: Abortion Non-Discrimination Act
(July, 2002)

Testimony of Lynn D. Wardle, J.D.

  •  . . .Recently, there have been a series of attempts to compel hospitals, health care groups, and other hare care organizations to either provide abortion services or to be denied the license, permission or opportunity to engage in the health care service. Also, there have been attempts to mandate that health care insurers and private employers provide coverage and pay for abortion services. . .
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Testimony of Ms. Karen Vosburgh

  • . . .the court struck down a state law protecting hospitals that refuse to participate in abortions, denying the right of our board to exercise its rights of moral conscience. The court even suggested that it would not respect the religious beliefs of those who decline involvement in abortion, saying, "recognizing such a policy as 'compelling' could violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment." . . .
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Fact Sheet: ACLU's Misrepresentations about the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act

  • US Conference of Catholic Bishops | In testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health (July 11, 2002), the Reproductive Freedom Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) made several claims about the practical effect of H.R. 4691, the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act. Each claim is quoted below and followed by a rebuttal that sets the record straight.
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Letters of Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua

  • 8 October, 2002 |. . .Passage of S. 2008 is urgently needed. In recent years there has been a growing nationwide effort to attack the conscience rights of Catholic and other health care providers. In one example cited at the House hearing on this bill, an Alaska court forced a community hospital to provide elective late-term abortions contrary to its policy and the sentiment of the community. . .
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  • 15 August, 2003 | Abortion advocates, by opposing this modest legislation, have called into serious question their past claim that they favor a "right to choose" on abortion. . . . Hospitals and other health care providers have "a right to choose not to be involved in destroying life."
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US Conference of Catholic Bishops