Senate Urged to Uphold Conscience Protection

WASHINGTON, D.C., FEB. 25, 2005 ( The U.S. bishops and leaders of two Catholic organizations sent a letter to the Senate asking for renewed support for the Hyde/Weldon Conscience Protection Amendment.

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The amendment protects the rights of health care providers who decline to provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions.

The Hyde/Weldon amendment, approved last December as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, will be under attack in April when Senator Barbara Boxer plans to offer a motion to rescind the law.

The amendment is an «important safeguard for rights of conscience,» the letter said.

«This matter of conscience rights should be an area of common ground among Senators who disagree on the issue of abortion itself,» the letter said. «Surely, if ‘pro-choice’ has any meaning, it encompasses protection for a choice not to be involved in abortion against one’s will.»

The letter was signed by Monsignor William Fay, secretary-general of the U.S. bishops’ conference; Sister Carol Keehan, chairwoman of the board of the Catholic Health Association of the United States; and Steven White, president of the Catholic Medical Association.

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