Pro-life Leaders Urge Boehner To Protect Americans’ ‘Conscience Rights’

By Barbara Hollingsworth | October 11, 2013 | 5:34 PM EDT


Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) (AP photo)

( – Leaders of more than 40 pro-life groups delivered an urgent letter to House Speaker John Boehner Friday imploring  him to protect Americans from being forced to subsidize abortions in any deal he makes with the White House to fund the government or raise the debt ceiling.

“The continuing resolution and debt limit legislation offer the ideal opportunity to enact these protections as the exchanges created by the ACA [Affordable Care Act] begin implementation,” the pro-life coalition letter said. (See Boehner letter.pdf)

Noting that Obamacare “erodes decades of federal policy prohibiting the use of tax dollars to subsidize the purchase of plans that cover elective abortion,” pro-life leaders urged Boehner to include provisions of the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (H.R.940) introduced by Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) that would “protect the conscience rights and religious liberty of individuals, businesses, and organizations against this imposition on conscience.”

Without such a legislative fix, the letter continued, “millions of Americans will be unknowingly enrolled in health care plans that include elective abortion coverage. These plans will charge enrollees a minimum of $1 per month – an 'abortion surcharge' – that will go into an abortion slush fund,” the letter noted.

“Regulations further contain a ‘secrecy clause’ to conceal the existence of the ‘abortion surcharge’ until the moment of enrollment. This surcharge is only disclosed in the fine print, without itemization in the monthly premium, and is never disclosed again.”

The coalition also pointed out that despite 200 First Amendment lawsuits already filed against the Obama administration, “the unconstitutional HHS mandate is already being used to force businesses to pay for coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization, regardless of moral objections.”

“The American people – who support conscience protections and oppose taxpayer-subsidized abortions – are looking to Congress for relief and to you for leadership on these foundational issues of our republic,” the letter concluded.

Signatories included Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life; Lila Rose, president of Live Action; Eric Scheidler, executive director of the Pro-Life Action League; and L. Brent Bozell, chairman of ForAmerica and president of the Media Research Center, the parent company of