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A bill pushed by Democrats in the wake of the leaked Supreme Court decision would force Christian doctors to perform abortions even if they hold religious reason not to, religious freedom advocates warn.
Several religious freedom experts warned about the effect the Protecting Women’s Health Act would have on Christian medical professionals who are against abortion should the bill pass the Senate and be signed into law.
Charlotte Lozier Institute associate scholar Richard M. Doerflinger told Fox News Digital in a Tuesday statement that in “theory, federal law protects the conscience rights of doctors and nurses with moral objections to abortion.”
“But the Biden administration disbanded the division of the HHS Office of Civil Rights that had enforced those laws,” Doerflinger said. “The one remaining law that does not depend on the Administration’s whims is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, because it allows the oppressed party to go to court to defend his or her own rights — and the Women’s Health Protection Act would nullify that Act as it applies to abortion.”
“Christian doctors and nurses would be covered by the WHPA’s mandate that all states maximize ‘access’ to elective abortions,” he warned. “The law that protected religious orders and religious health care providers from being forced to pay for contraceptives and abortifacients under Obamacare would not protect them from having to perform and refer for even late-term abortions.”
Heritage Foundation religion policy analyst Melanie Israel shared similar concerns, telling Fox News Digital that the “WHPA specifically exempts itself from a defense raised under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.”
“This law was enacted on a resoundingly bipartisan basis, with the support of members – like Sen. Schumer – who tomorrow will vote to ignore it,” she continued.
Israel said that furthermore, “the WHPA states that a ‘health care provider has a statutory right under this Act to provide abortion services, and may provide abortion services, and that provider’s patient has a corresponding right to receive such services…’ This directly conflicts with, for example, a faith-based hospital’s ability to have a policy to not allow elective late term abortions to be conducted on its premises.”
“The WHPA says it would supersede other Federal and state law, imperiling longstanding policies like the Church, Coats-Snow, and Weldon Amendments (and their state counterparts) which together have provided meaningful protections for individuals and health care entities who don’t want to perform, provide, pay for, or refer for abortions,” Israel added.
The Protecting Women’s Health Act passed the House along party lines before meeting its demise in the Senate earlier this Congress.
However, that hasn’t stopped Democrats from making a renewed push for the bill in the wake of the Supreme Court leak.
The bill is expected to fall short of the 60-vote hurdle to overcome a filibuster in the Senate.
Knowing this fact, progressives have fallen back on demanding the filibuster be removed — something that is also unlikely to happen as both Democratic Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona continue to stand opposed to the idea.