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Catholics to House of Representatives: Don’t Legislate For Discrimination

June 17, 2015

Today, a subcommittee of the House of Representatives will debate the FY 2016 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill, an annual funding bill for labor and health programs throughout the federal government. If the current bill moves forward, the regular business of our federal government will once again be distorted to serve religious extremists demanding the right to discriminate.

Amendments to the annual bill would eliminate Title X funding for family planning services in the federal budget, unfairly targeting women who receive contraception and basic preventive healthcare from Title X-funded clinics. The bill also includes amendments, backed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, that allow almost any employer or insurance company to refuse to cover any health service.

“This is an attempt to cut funding for programs that protect our poorest citizens and allow employers the right to override employees’ healthcare decisions. These provisions blatantly distort the Catholic social justice tradition and our beliefs regarding individual moral decision-making and religious liberty,” said Jon O’Brien, president of Catholics for Choice.

“Sixty-seven percent of Catholic voters reject the right of employers to deny insurance coverage of birth control for employees based on employers’ religious beliefs.

“These efforts are just another way to tear down the wall of the separation between church and state and redefine what religious freedom means. Granting rights to hospitals, insurance companies and for-profit corporations that morally belong only to individuals is not protecting religious freedom.

“Catholics call upon the House of Representatives to listen to their constituents—rather than religious extremists out to protect their own business interests in healthcare and social services provision. Strengthen rather than weaken the social safety net, protect the separation of church and state and tell the bishops: ‘No.’”