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Statement of Administration Policy: S. 304 – Conscience Protection Act of 2016

July 12, 2016


(House Rules)

(Rep. Black, R-TN)

The Administration strongly opposes the House Amendment to S. 304, the Conscience Protection Act of 2016, because it would have the consequence of limiting women's health care choices and because the Administration believes that protections in current Federal law already provide appropriate protection for the rights of conscience. Longstanding Federal policy already prohibits the use of Federal funds for abortions, except in cases of rape or incest, or when the life of the woman would be endangered. Additionally, the Administration has instituted health care policies that appropriately accommodate religious objections. This bill would unduly limit women's health care choices by allowing a broadly-defined set of health providers (including secular sponsors of employer-based health coverage) to decline to provide abortion coverage based on any objections. The legislation would also permanently authorize alternative methods of enforcing these provisions that would inevitably lead to confusion.

The Administration is continuing its efforts to protect the rights of conscience, reduce unintended pregnancies, expand access to contraception, support maternal and child health, and minimize the need for abortion. At the same time, the Administration is committed to the protection of women's health and reproductive freedom and to supporting women and families in the choices that they make, which—as the Supreme Court just reaffirmed—are protected by the Constitution.

If the President were presented with this legislation, his senior advisors would recommend he veto the bill.

Barack Obama, Statement of Administration Policy: S. 304 – Conscience Protection Act of 2016 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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