Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) introduced a bill Tuesday that would guarantee that organizations, private businesses, higher education institutions, and healthcare and insurance providers would not have to sponsor any type of insurance coverage that would violate moral or religious beliefs.
“Our nation is divided on various issues, but the fabric of America is built on the First Amendment rights of free speech and the free exercise of religion. This should be something we all agree on,” stated Lankford. “It is possible for people with opposing views to live together in peace, but we all must respect our different beliefs. The federal government should respect freedom and conscience rights for everyone; this bill would assure that happens.”
His Health Care Conscience Rights Act would provide an exemption from enforcement of the HHS mandate so that healthcare providers will not have to pay a fine for honoring their conscience and religious beliefs.
Lankford’s press release noted:
The bill would prohibit any action by the federal government and any state or local government receiving federal financial assistance to subject a health professional, a hospital, a provider-sponsored organization, a health maintenance organization, an accountable care organization, a health insurance plan, or any other kind of healthcare facility, organization, or plan to discriminate on the basis that the entity refuses to participate in abortion-related activities.
The legislation also created a cause of action against violations of the abortion discrimination prohibition.