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H.R. 940 and S. 1204 – The Health Care Conscience Rights Act

The Health Care Conscience Rights Act would protect individuals, employers, schools, and insurance issuers from having to buy or provide health insurance coverage for an item or service to which they have a moral or religious objection. Basically, it would apply the right to religious freedom to Obamacare’s HHS mandate.

The Obama administration has interpreted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) to require, under the threat of financial penalty, that religious individuals, whether acting as health insurance consumers or as sponsors, must violate their consciences by purchasing or making available to others health insurance that covers morally objectionable items such as products that cause abortion.

H.R. 940 and its Senate version S. 1204 would provide a statutory right of conscience to religious consumers, employers, and insurance issuers so that they cannot be fined, taxed, or otherwise penalized for refusing to buy or provide coverage for items or services that they find morally objectionable. It would also allow health insurance companies to offer without penalty plans that do not cover morally objectionable items or services.

In addition, the Health Care Conscience Rights Act extends federal conscience protections for physicians to all other health care entities (e.g. nurses, pharmacists, hospitals, medical schools, health insurance companies, etc.). It would ensure that individuals and institutions could not be denied federal funding or otherwise be discriminated against for refusing to participate in, refer for, or provide training for abortion.


The complete text of H.R. 940 may be found at

The complete text of S. 1204 may be found at


H.R. 940 was introduced by Congresswoman Diane Black (TN-6) and has 195 co-sponsors. A list of the co-sponsors may be found at

S. 1204 was introduced by Senator Tom Coburn (OK) and has 21 co-sponsors. A list of the co-sponsors may be found at

Status – H.R. 940

3-4-13 H.R. 940 introduced in the House of Representatives and referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on Ways and Means.

3-8-13 Referred by the House Energy and Commerce Committee to its Subcommittee on Health.

Status – S. 1204

6-20-13 S. 1204 introduced in the Senate and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.


3-4-13 Press release by Congresswoman Diane Black announcing the introduction of H.R. 940. Includes statements from Congresswoman Black and Congressmen Jeff Fortenberry (NE-1) and John Fleming, MD (LA-4), as well as links to statements from medical professionals in support of the bill.

6-21-13 Press release by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in support of the introduction of S. 1204. Includes links to letters written to Members of the House and Senate in support of the legislation by Archbishop William E. Lori, Chairman of the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty, and Russell D. Moore, Ph.D., Chairman of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

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