Kentucky Republican Congressman Thomas Massie has co-sponsored a bill that would allow individuals to ignore portions of the Affordable Care Act that violate their religious beliefs.
The Health Care Conscience Rights Act seeks to protect those who argue expanding coverage for contraceptives and abortion comes into conflict with their faith. For religious and political conservatives, the health care mandate to employers encroaches upon their constitutional rights.
According to Massie’s office, the bill also protects health care providers who refuse to perform certain procedures and give refuge to people with religious convictions.
“Obamacare is expensive, unconstitutional, and threatens our First Amendment right of conscience,” Massie said in a news release. “This bill protects churches, religious organizations, and business owners from being forced to violate their beliefs.” Backed mainly by Catholic institutions, the federal measure is similar to the so-called religious freedom bill proposed in the Kentucky state legislature this year. That legislation was fiercely opposed by gay rights groups and others who argued it would allow individuals to ignore certain civil rights protections.
The federal measure was introduced by Republican Congresswoman Diane Black of Tennessee, and has 128 other co-sponsors.