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USCCB president decries failure to pass conscience-protection legislation

December 24, 2015

The president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued a statement lamenting the failure of Congress to pass the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA).

The Hill reported that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) made “a strong—yet unsuccessful—push” to include the legislation in the recent omnibus budget deal. “Ryan spoke to President Obama and Vice President Biden to make his case but came away empty-handed.”

“Many Catholic and other institutions, including those that provide health care and other human services to the poor and vulnerable, have joined in our support of ANDA,” Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville said in his December 23 statement.

“Without ANDA, these caring organizations face legal threats to their very existence, as they lack clear and enforceable protection for their freedom to serve the needy in accord with their deepest moral convictions on respect for human life,” he continued. “Such threats to conscience also pose a threat to the most marginalized and vulnerable in our society--the poor and the sick, as well as the unborn.”

Archbishop Kurtz added:

I am deeply concerned that a foundational principle that has received long-standing, bipartisan support in the past has suddenly become partisan. No one should be forced by the government to actively participate in what they believe to be the taking of an innocent life. This is not about "access" to abortion. The principle at stake is whether people of faith and others who oppose abortion and abortion coverage should be compelled to participate in them. 

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