U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today renewed her support for legislation to protect all healthcare providers from government discrimination if they decline to participate in abortions.
Hyde-Smith is an original cosponsor of the Conscience Protection Act of 2021, which provides a private right of action for pro-life victims of discrimination. She cosponsored the same measure introduced previously by U.S. Senator James Lankford (R-Okla.).
“Religious liberty cannot be suspended if one’s workplace has misguided policies regarding abortion,” Hyde-Smith said. “Congress must act to provide legal protection for pro-life healthcare workers, who shouldn’t be penalized for refusing to participate in abortions.”
Congress has enacted multiple laws to protect conscience rights for individuals who have religious or moral objections to abortions. However, courts have so far declined to find these laws to provide a “private right of action,” which leaves victims of discrimination unable to defend their conscience rights in court.
The Lankford measure would allow healthcare providers, such as doctors and nurses, to pursue legal action if they are coerced into participating in abortions or if they face discrimination at work for refusing to perform abortions. It would also prohibit federal, state and local governments that receive federal funds from discriminating against those who decline to take part in abortion or abortion coverage.
Hyde-Smith is among 78 lawmakers who filed an amicus brief to New York v. HHS, a pending case on former President Trump’s “Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights In Health Care” rule to enforce existing statutory protections for healthcare providers’ conscience rights.
The Christian Medical & Dental Associations, Concerned Women for America, Ethics and Public Policy Center, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Family Research Council, Freedom2Care, Heritage Action, March for Life, National Right to Life, Susan B. Anthony List, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops support this legislation.
Release from Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith.