Thursday, September 11, 2008

Proposed Regulations Issued to Protect Right of Conscience of Health Care Professionals

On August 21, the Department of Health and Human Services issued proposed regulations that would clarify and enforce existing laws that afford protection to members of the health care community who have moral or religious objections to the practice of abortion. The proposed regulations also include accountability measures which would require recipients of federal funding appropriated through the Department of Health and Human Services to certify compliance with laws protecting the right of conscience.

These regulations have not yet taken effect and are open for public comment for a period of thirty days. Following the comment period, the Department of Health and Human Services will consider the comments before issuing the final regulations. The deadline for public comment is September 25, 2008. You can comment on this issue in one of three ways:

1. Official comments may be submitted at www.Regulations.gov. Enter key word ‘provider conscience’ and click on the link ‘Comment or Submission.’ You can submit your entry in the space provided or add an attachment (Attachments should be in Microsoft Word, Word Perfect, or Excel; Microsoft Word is preferred). The subject line must read ‘Provider Conscience Regulation.’

2. Official comments may also be submitted via email at consciencecomment@hhs.gov. The subject line must read ‘Provider Conscience Regulation.’

3. General comments may be submitted to the blog for the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services at http://secretarysblog.hhs.gov.

The core issue underlying these regulations is conscience protections and they must be codified in order to enforce existing federal law and ensure that health care professionals have the right to refuse to perform services due to moral, ethical, or religious objections.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Republican Dedication to American Values

Both the party platform and legislation introduced by Members of Congress reflect the dedication to American values by the Republican Party.


Freedom of Speech and the Press

The GOP “supports the freedom of speech and freedom of the press and opposes attempts to violate or weaken those rights, such as reinstatement of the so-called Fairness Doctrine.”

One of the measures taken to ensure this constitutional right is the Broadcaster Freedom Act, H.R. 2905. The Act would prevent the Federal Communications Commission from reinstating the Fairness Doctrine, which would require all broadcast licensees to present opposing viewpoints on controversial issues. H.R. 2905 was first introduced by Representative Pence (R-IN) on June 28, 2007 and is currently before the House Committee on Energy, Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet. Congressman Pence filed a discharge petition on October 17, 2007 to bring the Act to the House floor without a Committee report. A discharge petition requires 218 signatures, and as of July 24, 2008, 202 signatures have been collected.

Maintaining the Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life

The GOP “supports a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”

The Sanctity of Human Life Act, H.R. 4157, states that “the life of each human being begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, irrespective of sex, health, function or disability, defect, stage of biological development, or condition of dependency, at which time every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood.” The Act was introduced by Representative Broun (R-GA) on November 13, 2007 and has been before the House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties since February 25, 2008.

Protecting Our National Symbols

The GOP “condemns decisions by activist judges to deny children the opportunity to say the Pledge of Allegiance in public school.”

The Pledge Protection Act, H.R. 699, affirms the current text of the Pledge of Allegiance and, by the power vested in Congress by the Constitution, removes jurisdiction to hear a case pertaining to the Pledge from any court created by Congress. The bill also exercises Congress’ Article III, Section 2 power to withhold appellate jurisdiction from the Supreme Court in dealing with this matter. H.R. 699 was introduced by Representative Akin (R-MO) on January 29, 2007 and has been before the House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties since March 1, 2007.


A complete list of Members of the United States House of Representatives is available at www.house.gov. Please contact your representative and ask that he or she support our American values by voting for the Broadcaster Freedom Act, the Sanctity of Human Life Act, and the Pledge Protection Act.