House bill would protect health care conscience rights

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A bill introduced in the U.S. House would protect conscience rights that backers say are threatened by the new health care law.

The Health Care Conscience Rights Act would exempt employers from providing contraceptives or other services for which they have a religious or moral objection. Supporters say it would prevent the government from forcing health care providers to be complicit in abortion. Those alleging conscience rights violations would be able to sue.

The bill's sponsor, Congresswoman Diane Black, R-Tenn., is a nurse. She was joined by other women in health care and business who said obeying their consciences shouldn't subject them to crippling fines and penalties.

Black would like the bill's conscience protections to be attached to the budget measure that Congress must pass this month to keep the government running.

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