Delaware Catholic Action Network asks faithful to urge support for Conscience Protection Act


The Delaware Catholic Advocacy Network (DCAN) is asking its members to “contact Delaware Congressman John Carney to urge him to co-sponsor and work to enact H.R. 4828, the Conscience Protection Act of 2016.”

The April 20 DCAN email urged participants to ask Carney “to uphold the right of conscientious objection to abortion by enacting this much-needed legislation.”

The bill, introduced in the U.S. House last month, contains the policy of what has been called the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has also joined with other national groups in support of H.R. 4828.

Capitol Dome, Washington DC (Thinkstock)
Capitol Dome, Washington DC (Thinkstock)

The USCCB signed an April 19 letter to members of the House that notes, “Federal laws protecting conscientious objection to abortion have been approved for decades by Congresses and presidents of both parties.

Even many ‘pro-choice’ Americans realize that the logic of their position requires them to respect a choice not to be involved in abortion. Yet it is increasingly clear that the current laws offer far less protection in practice than in theory.”

The U.S. bishops and other signing organizations, such as the Catholic Medical Association, the American College of Pediatricians, the Knights of Columbus and California Nurses for Ethical Standards, cite loopholes in current U.S. laws backing conscience protection.

The letter to Congress states:

“For example, the state of California in 2014 began demanding that all health plans under the jurisdiction of the state’s Department of Managed Health Care — even those purchased by churches and other religious organizations — cover elective abortions for any reason, including late-term abortions and those performed for reasons of ‘sex selection.’

“No exemption of any kind is allowed.

“This policy flagrantly violates the Weldon amendment, which has been part of the annual Labor/HHS appropriations laws for over a decade.

“Yet the HHS Office for Civil Rights has not acted on the complaints that were filed against this coercive mandate over a year ago, despite Congress’s demand for swift action in its report language accompanying the final Labor/HHS appropriations acts for FY 2015 and FY 2016.”

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, also wrote the House in support of the bill on March 31.

Their letter said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has allowed valid complaints regarding the lack of conscience protection enforcement have been “allowed to languish, sometimes for years, without resolution.”

The prelates’ letter charges that HHS “has discriminated against those who cannot in conscience facilitate abortions, as when it implemented a new ‘strong preference’ for grantees willing to refer human trafficking victims solely to health care providers who favor abortion.”

Delaware Catholic Advocacy Network has a link on the Diocese of Wilmington’s website to DCAN’s action alert. The site is at