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NCHLA Action Center

Support Protect Life Act
Correct Serious Flaws in Health Care Reform Law

10/13/2011


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The health care reform bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), was signed into law in 2010. While long supporting health care reform, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops criticized the final law as profoundly flawed in its treatment of abortion, conscience rights, and fairness to immigrants.

On January 20, Reps. Joseph Pitts (R-PA) and Dan Lipinski (D-IL) introduced the Protect Life Act (H.R. 358) to bring PPACA into line with policies on abortion and conscience rights existing in other federal health programs. On May 4, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced the companion bill in the Senate (S. 877). In letters to Congress, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, Chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, urged Members to support the Protect Life Act, which will do the following:

  • Ensure that all PPACA funds are covered by the policy of the longstanding Hyde Amendment (no funds for abortion except in cases of life endangerment or rape/incest).
  • Prevent federal funds from subsidizing health plans that cover abortions beyond the Hyde exceptions, so that PPACA will follow the policy of other federal health insurance programs.
  • Uphold rights of conscience related to abortion, ensuring that governmental entities receiving federal funds under PPACA will not discriminate against health care providers who decline involvement in abortion.
  • Close a loophole in PPACA’s non-preemption clause, so that state laws restricting abortion or protecting conscience rights will not be preempted, and states will not be able to override PPACA’s provisions ensuring that health plans without elective abortion are available in each state. See: nchla.org/datasource/idocuments/HR358_USCCB.pdf and nchla.org/datasource/idocuments/S877letter.pdf.

On October 13, after defeating a motion to recommit the bill to committee, the House of Representatives approved H.R. 358, 251-yes, 172-no. Attention now shifts to the Senate, where Senators should be urged to support and co-sponsor S. 877. For a current list of co-sponsors of the Senate bill, please see: thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d112:S00877:@@@P.

ACTION: Contact your Senators by e-mail, phone, or FAX letter:

  • Send an e-mail through NCHLA’s Grassroots Action Center. Click HERE.
  • Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121, or call your Senators' local offices.
  • Additional contact info can be found on Senators’ web sites at: www.senate.gov.

MESSAGE: “Please cosponsor and support the Protect Life Act, S. 877. This bill will amend the health care reform law to preserve longstanding federal policies on abortion and conscience rights.”

WHEN: Now is the time to build support by contacting your Senators. Thanks!

Updated 10/13/11



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