Congress advances some pro-life measures but denies legal recourse to pro-life victims of discrimination

By Jonathan Imbody - September 24, 2018

The Conscience Protection Act simply prevents governmental discrimination against health professionals who decline involvement in abortion and provides victims legal recourse in court. 
So when Congress refuses to pass such basic legislation (see below), it would appear that our government wishes to allow continued discrimination against pro-life health professionals, without legal recourse.


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Legislative Update

On September 21, the House Committee on Rules listed the conference report to accompany H.R. 6157 as a bill expected to be considered on the House floor during the week of September 24. The Senate adopted the conference report on September 18. 
The bill combines FY19 funding for Defense and Labor-HHS-Ed (LHHS) and a continuing resolution (CR) carrying forward FY18 spending for all outstanding appropriations bills through December 7, 2018.


Pro-Life Provisions Retained in the LHHS Portion of HR 6157
All longstanding pro-life riders (limitations of funding) in Labor-HHS-Ed appropriations were retained:
  • Title X abuse reporting requirement (pg. 111)
  • Medicare Advantage conscience protection (pg. 111)
  • Hyde Amendment, domestic abortion funding prohibition (pg. 139)
  • Weldon Amendment, conscience protection (pg. 139)
  • Dickey-Wicker Amendment, embryo protection (pg. 140)

Funding Levels of Note in the LHHS Portion of HR 6157
In Division B, Title II (HHS), the Title X and Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) programs remain funded at FY18 levels ($286 million and $101 million respectively).

The LHHS bill passed out of the House Appropriations Committee eliminated Title X and TPP funding.

Provisions Not Included in the LHHS Portion of HR 6157
The House bill voted out of the House Appropriations Committee included the three new pro-life riders listed below.  These three provisions were not included in HR 6157:
  • Conscience Protection Act: this provision provided comprehensive abortion conscience protection language, including a private right of action for victims of Hyde-Weldon violations.
  • No Funding for Abortion Providers Like Planned Parenthood: this provision prohibited large abortion providers, such as Planned Parenthood, from receiving any funding made available through the Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations bill.
  • Stop Federal Funding for Research Using Aborted Fetal Tissue: this provision stops HHS from funding research using aborted fetal tissue and redirects funding to ethical alternatives.

Continuing Resolution Through December 7
The CR carries forward longstanding pro-life riders contained in the appropriations bills for Agriculture; Commerce, Justice, and Science; Financial Services and General Government; and State and Foreign Operations through December 7, 2018

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