64 Members of Congress write HHS Secretary Sebelius about Conscience Protections

By Dave Andrusko

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Sixty-four members of Congress have sent a letter to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, requesting that she “send a strong message” to the state of Washington that any state receiving federal funds “is prohibiting from mandating that insurance plans cover abortion or from requiring that provider refer for such services.” The letter references HB 2330 (the Reproductive Parity Act), which passed the state House but did not clear the Senate, and would have required insurers who cover prenatal care (which Washington insurers are mandated to provide) to also pay for abortions.

Lawmakers are meeting in a special session this week because legislators failed to agree on a plan to address the state’s $500 million budget gap. In calling the special session, Gov. Chris Gregoire said it was to deal only with the budget. That does not mean that pro-abortionists will not try to resurrect HB2330.

The letter from the 64 Members of Congress cited the Hyde/Weldon amendment which “expressly preserves the institutional and individual health care entity, including health insurance plans, against discrimination ‘on the basis that the health care entity does not provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.’”

The letter points to an editorial Sebelius wrote and 2009 remarks by President Obama to Congress, both of which referred to supporting existing “federal conscience laws.”

The letter concludes, “It is certainly our hope that you will fulfill your solemn responsibility to uphold the Constitution and enforce current federal law—including the Hyde/Weldon amendment.”

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