September 25, 2002
The Administration strongly supports House passage of H.R. 4691, which would
extend protections to health care professionals and organizations who might
otherwise be compelled to provide coverage or pay for abortions. This
legislation is consistent with long-standing policy and current law.
Hospitals and health care professionals should not be forced to perform or participate in abortions. This legislation makes clear that they may not be subjected to discrimination by the Federal government, or by any State or local government receiving Federal financial assistance, because they oppose or choose not to participate in abortions or abortion training.
Under existing Federal statutes and appropriations laws, health care providers and other entities are not required to participate in abortions or abortion training. These laws were enacted by prior Congresses to protect and honor human life, and to protect the rights of health care entities, including health care professionals, from discrimination because they declined to perform abortions.
Respecting the rights of those who decline to participate in abortions is consistent with long-standing Federal policy as reflected in the Hyde Amendment to the annual Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education appropriations bill, the prohibition on abortion coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, and the Church Amendment to the Public Health Service Act.