Congressional Bill Protects Health Care Providers

( [email protected] ) Sep 18, 2004 05:27 PM EDT

According to LifeNews, the U.S. House of Representatives is currently debating the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations bill which includes the Hyde-Weldon provision that would prevent any level of government from discriminating against heath care providers, insurance companies and health care professionals who refuse to provide, pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortion.

The Hyde-Weldon provision within the bill embodies the same non-discrimination policy as the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act, passed by the House in 2002. Abortion advocacy groups claim that the provision will "gag" its doctors from performing abortion procedures.

The bill does not prevent health care providers from receiving federal funding. Rather the provision insures that physicians are not forced to provide abortion services, a protection of health care provider's civil rights.

Base on the provision, any government agency receiving federal funds that discriminates against such a person or entity will lose federal funding under the measure, sponsored by Representatives Dave Weldon (R-FL) and Henry Hyde (R-IL).

According to Lifenews, lawmakers say the next challenge for the measure is a House-Senate conference committee. Pro-life lawmakers, who are members of the committee to iron out differences between the bills, will work to ensure that the provision stays in place.