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Senator Scott Brown Comments on Respect for Rights of Conscience Act

The following is from an email by Senator Scott Brown when I contacted him and urged him to co-sponsor the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179 / S. 1467), bi-partisan legislation would ensure that federal mandates do not violate the deeply-held moral and religious convictions of our citizens:

Dear Mr. Corcoran,

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act.  As always, I value the input of my constituents on all issues and appreciate hearing from you.

On August 2, 2011, Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduced the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (S. 1467).  As written, this bill would amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to permit a health plan to decline coverage of specific items and services that go against the religious beliefs of the sponsor, issuer, or other entity offering the plan or the purchaser or beneficiary.  Currently, S. 1467 is under review by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, of which I am not a member.  Similar legislation (H.R. 1179) is under consideration in the House of Representatives.  Should S. 1467 or related legislation be considered by the full Senate in the 112th Congress, I will review it with your thoughts in mind.

You may be interested to know that, in February of this year, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a rule to preserve the statutory authority of conscience clause.  As written, the rule states that the federal health care provider conscience protection statutes, including the Church Amendments, the Public Health Services Act Sec. 245, and the Weldon Amendment, require that HHS and recipients of HHS funds (including state and local governments) refrain from discriminating against institutional and individual health care entities for their participation in certain medical procedures or services, including abortion, or research activities funded in whole or in part by the federal government.

Again, thank you for getting in touch with me.  Should you have any additional questions or comments, please feel free to contact me or visit my website at www.scottbrown.senate.gov.

Scott P. Brown
United States Senator

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