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tv   U.S. House of Representatives Legislative Business  CSPAN  July 13, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm EDT

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the chair: on this vote the eas are 175 and the nays are 2 0 --
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the chair: on this vote the yeas are 177 and the nays are 249. he amendment is not adopted. the unfinished business is the request for a recorded vote on amendment number 33 printed in house report 114-683 offered by the gentleman from colorado, mr. polis, which further proceedings were postponed and
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on which the noes prevailed by voice vote. the clerk will redesignate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 33 printed in house report 114-683 offered by mr. polis of colorado. the chair: a recorded vote has been requested. those in support of the request for a recorded vote will rise and be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a two-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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the chair: on this vote the yeas are 187 and the noes are 240. the amendment is not adopted. the unfinished business is the request for a recorded vote on amendment number 34 printed in house report 114-683 offered by the gentleman from california, mr. lowenthal, on which further proceedings were postponed and on which the noes prevailed by voice vote. the clerk will redesignate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 34 printed in house report 114-683 offered by mr. lowenthal of california. the chair: a recorded vote has been requested.
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those in support of the request for a recorded vote will rise and be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this will be a two-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 183. the nays are 246. he amendment is not adopted. the unfinished business is the request for recorded vote on amendments 35, 36, 37, 38, 39
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and 40 printed in house report 114-683 offered by the gentleman from california, mr. mcnerney, on which further proceedings were postponed and the noes prevailed by voigt vote. the clerk will redesignate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 350, 36, 37, 38, 39, and 40, printed house report 11-683 offered by mr. mcnerney of california. the speaker pro tempore: recorded vote has been requested. those in support of recorded vote will rise and be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this will be a two-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: the nays are 248. he amendments are not adopted. the unfinished business is request for recorded vote on amendment number 42 printed in house report 114-683 offered by the gentleman from arizona, mr. grijalva, on which the noes prevailed by voice vote. the clerk: amendment number 41 brinted in house report number 114-683, offered by mr. grijalva of arizona. the speaker pro tempore: recorded vote has been requested. those in support of the request
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for recorded vote will rise and be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this will be a two-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 202. the nays are 225. the amendment is not adopted. the unfinished business is the request for recorded vote on amendment number 3 printed in house report 114-683 offered by the gentlewoman from tennessee, mrs. blackburn, on which
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further proceedings were postponed on which the noes prevailed by voice vote. the clerk will redesignated the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 4 printed in house report number 114683 offered by mrs. blackburn of tennessee. the speaker pro tempore: a vorded vote has been requested. those in support of the request for recorded vote will rise and be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a two-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 171, the noes are 258. he amendment is not adopted. for what purpose does the gentleman from california seek recognition? >> i move the committee now rise. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on the motion that the committee rise. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the motion is adopted. accordingly, the committee rises.
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the chair: mr. speaker the mole house on the state of the union having had under consideration h.r. 5538 directs me to report that it's come to no resolution thereon. the speaker pro tempore: the chair of the committee of the whole house on the state of the union reports that the committee has had under consideration h.r. 5538 and has come to no resolution thereon. pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, proceedings will resume on questions previously postponed. votes will be taken in the following order. ordering the previous question on the house resolution 822. and adoption of house resolution 822, if ordered. all electronic votes will be conducted as five-minute votes. the unfinished business is the vote on ordering the previous question on house resolution 822 on which the yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk will report the title of the resolution. the clerk: house calendar number 136, house resolution
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822. resolution providing for consideration of the senate amendment to the house amendment to the bill senate 764 to re-authorize and amend the national sea grant college program act, and for other purposes. providing for consideration of the bill senate 304 to improve motor vehicle safety by encouraging the sharing of certain information and waiving a requirement of clause 6-a of rule 13 with respect to consideration of certain resolutions reported from the committee on rules. the speaker pro tempore: the question is on ordering the previous question. members will record their votes by electronic device. this will be a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 245 and the nays are 183. the previous question is ordered. the speaker: for what purpose does the gentlewoman from washington seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i ask for a privileged resolution and ask for its immediate
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consideration. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the resolution. the clerk: -- the speaker: the clerk will report the resolution. the clerk: house resolution 826. resolved that philip george kiko is chosen chief administrative officer of the house of representatives effective august 1, 2016. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the resolution is agreed to and the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table. -- the speaker: without objection, the resolution is agreed to and the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table. ll the chief come to the well. swear r will -- do you to support the constitution, that will you bear true faith and allegiance to the same, that you take this obligation freely without mental reservation or purpose of evasion and that you will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which you are about to enter, so help you god. congratulations.
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without objection, five-minute voting will continue. the question is on adoption of the resolution. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes appear to have it. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. mcgovern: i ask for a recorded vote. the speaker: a recorded vote requested. those in support of the request for a recorded vote will rise and be counted. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this will be a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
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the speaker pro tempore: on this vote the yeas are 242 and the nays are 185. the resolution is adopted. without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid on the table.
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the speaker pro tempore: the ouse will be in order. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from tennessee seek recognition? mrs. blackburn: thank you, madam speaker. pursuant to house resolution 822, i call up s. 304, and ask for its immediate consideration in the house. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: senate 304, an act to improve motor vehicle safety by encouraging the sharing of
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certain information. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to house resolution 822 an amendment in the nature of a suxtute consisting of the text of rules committee print 11 -61 is adopted and the bill as amended is considered as read. the bill shall be debatable for one hour equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the committee on the energy and commerce. the gentlewoman from tennessee, mrs. blackburn, and the gentlewoman from colorado, ms. degette, each will control 30 minutes. the chair recognizes the the gentlewoman from tennessee. mrs. blackburn: thank you, madam speaker. i ask unanimous consent that the question of adopting a motion to recommit on s. 304 may be subject to postponement as though under clause 8 of rule 20. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mrs. blackburn: madam speaker, i ask unanimous consent that all members may have five legislative days to revise and and their remarks include extraneous material on
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s. 30 . the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentlewoman from tennessee is recognized. mrs. blackburn: thank you, madam speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized. mrs. blackburn: thank you, madam speaker. congress has a long history of providing strong bipartisan conscience and freedom protections consistent with our founding principles and the constitution. it's about fairness, it's a cornerstone of our constitution which is built upon individual rights and liberties. look no further than the clinton administration to find evidence of unity when it comes to conscience protection. president clinton built conscience protections into managed care plans for medicaid and medicare regarding federals. in 1997 as part of the balanced budget act, almost identical conscience protections were applied to medicare choice
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plans. the conference report that included these exemptions was dely supported by democratic lawmakers, like now vice president biden, now secretary of state kerry, and democratic leader nancy pelosi to name a few. in 1998 and again in 1999 the clinton administration took the initiative to add two separate conscience protections to the federal employees health benefit program. many of these protections have been renewed annually by presidents clinton and bush and, yes, by president obama. one of these protections is the weldon amendment. a long-standing conscience safeguard in appropriations law. this protection provides that states and localities receiving federal funds may not discriminate against the health care entity on the basis that they do not, and i quote,
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provide pay for, provide coverage of, or refer for abortions. troublingly these encountering discrimination -- those encountering discrimination cannot even look to the office of civil rights for help. the office of civil rights within h.h.s. recently reinterpreted existing law to find a california mandate directing all health insurers to remove coverage exclusions and limitations for elective abortions to be consistent with the weldon amendment. americans should not have to rely on the whim of attorneys at h.h.s. to be protected from discrimination. this is why we are here today to discuss fairness to protect americans' rights. here's what the conscience protection act does. first, the bill reaffirms the protection that is are found in the weldon amendment. second, the bill gives
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discriminated individuals and entities their day in court through a private right of action. third, the bill clarifies that nothing, nothing in the legislation prevents providers from voluntarily electing to participate in abortion or makes changes to the emergency medical treatment and labor act. the simple intent of this bill is to stop the government from unfairly coercing individuals and entities to provide pay for, provide coverage of, or refer abortions. consider the examples of churches in california like skyline church in la mesa. faith baptist church in santa barbara. they are currently being forced by the state to cover all legal abortion in their health plans. or the case of a new york nurse, kathy decarlo, who was forced to take part in a dismemberment of a 22-week-old
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unborn child. kathy literally had to count the pieces of the unborn child against her objection to abortion. her lawsuit was dismissed because the conscience law lacks a private right of action. madam speaker, this is why we need the conscience protection act. for foot hill church in glen dora, alpine christian fellowship in el cajon, for the 12 new jersey nurses who stood up to their employer for requiring them to train for and participate in abortion. for kathy who deserves her day in court. this is why we need this legislation and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from tennessee reserves. the gentlewoman from colorado is recognized. ms. degette: thank you, madam speaker. i rise in opposition to this bill which is really nothing more than a wolf in sheep's clothing. it's being touted as just
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simply conscience clause, but in fact it strips away patient protections. it gives employers and health care companies the right to override a woman's reproductive health care decision. it vastly expands already damaging existing laws that restrict women's abilities to get full insurance coverage. and just to add, it would clog the courts. now, because it would create private rights of action for health care entities to enforce the law. now, existing so-called conscience provisions are bad enough, but what they apply to is existing health care entities. what this bill would do is something that's never been done before. it would allow employers and others to exercise this right. it would require o.c.i. and d.o.j. to investigate claims of discrimination, and it would expand the definition of health care entities. all of this would just simply
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interfere with a woman's ability to get accurate information about treatment options and could lead to her being deprived of timely emergency care. there's already plenty of evidence that current conscience provisions jeopardize women's health and safety. they create confusion about whether health care providers are required to offer critical care in emergency situations. i have heard some heartwrenching stories about what happens to the women. let me just tell you one of them. tamisha of michigan was only 18 weeks pregnant when her water broke. the nearest hospital, mercy health partners, didn't pursue the normal course of treatment, inducing labor for a pregnancy that wasn't viable in order to avoid risky complications. instead what they did is they gave her painkillers and they sent her home. over the next two days she returned to the hospital twice, bleeding and in severe pain.
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running a high fever only to get more or less the same response. they were completing the papers to send her home a third time. a third time, when she started to deliver a very premature infant dead within hours. madam speaker, we would likely see much more needless suffering and endangerment if the bill before us were to pass. it would let employers who sponsor health plans deny their female employees access to medical services to which the employer objects. it would reinforce existing provisions that lefts health providers or even informing people about them. with all of this in mind i strongly urge my colleagues to oppose this bad legislation. every patient should be able to make meaningful and formed -- informed decisions about their health care. congress needs to stop interfering in women's health decisions once and for all. i reserve the balance of my
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time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from colorado reserves. the gentlewoman from tennessee is recognized. mrs. blackburn: thank you, madam speaker. at this time i recognize the speaker of the house of representatives, speaker ryan, for one minute. the speaker: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the speaker: mr. speaker, i think we can all agree that in this country no one should be forced to perform an abortion. look, i know we disagree about when life begins. i know we disagree about what government should do about it. and however strongly i hold my beliefs, i also know my friends on the other side of the issue feel just as strongly. i respect those disagreements. but whoever you are, whatever you believe, i think this is one thing that we all should agree on. no one should be forced to violate their conscience. at least of all by the federal
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government. that's all this bill says. the federal government or anyone who receives taxpayer dollars cannot discriminate against health care providers who do not perform abortions. and if they do discriminate, this bill says that the victims will have two avenues of relief. either file a complaint with the department of health and human services, or file a civil suit in court. that's it. that's what this bill does. opponents say that this kind of thing just doesn't ever happen. nobody in their right mind would force someone against their will to help with an abortion. tell that to kathy decarl heo. she was a nurse at mount sinai hospital in new york city. a few years ago she was forced to help with an abortion. mr. speaker, this is not an isolated incident. there have been cases of nurses being suspended or threatened with firing solely for the offense of following their conscience.
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and now the state of california requires all health insurance plans to cover abortion. so if your church, if you're a religious school it doesn't matter, you must cover this procedure. and if it violates your conscience, too bad. this is a disturbing trend. what is more disturbing is that the federal government has not been protecting people's rights. there are already laws on the books to protect people's conscience rights. but after kathy decarlo filed a complaints with h.h.s., she waited three years for a resolution. when she filed a lawsuit, an appeals court said she didn't have standing and threw out her case. that's why this bill makes it perfectly clear. people of faith have standing. and they deserve relief. this bill does not ban or restrict abortion in any way. this bill does not change any
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medical standards or contracts. it does not change any laws regarding emergency treatment. all it does is protect a person's conscience in allowing this trend to continue. if we keep going down this path in this country, we will only erode our first amendment rights further. it will continue to push people of faith into the sidelines of society. that is not the kind of country we want to live in. not any of us. there's nothing more fulfilling than living out your faith. we want all people of all faiths to live freely in our country. but we can live out our faith only if our government respects our faith. that's why we need to pass this bill. i want it thank congressman john fleming. i want to thank congresswoman dianne black for their outstanding work on this. john, dianne, they have done
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the lord's work on defending people's conscience rights. it is the first amendment of the constitution. and it is under assault. this is something that keeps us free. this is something that makes us uniquely american. this is something that says men and women of conscience have rights. that must be protected. and when our own government trampled upon, throws under the bus, those rights, we have to act. that's why we are here today. they have been out front on this issue constantly leading the charge. i'm thankful for these warriors. i have to say to my colleagues, this is something that everyone should be in favor of. because if you believe in free speech, if you believe in freedom of religion, then you believe in freedom of conscience. then you believe in all of the first amendment and that is why i ask each and every one of my colleagues to support this
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bill. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from tennessee reserves. the gentlewoman from colorado is recognized. ms. degette: pleased to yield two minutes to the distinguished gentlelady from illinois, jan schakowsky. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from illinois is recognized. . ms. schakowsky: whose conscience should prevail. and what a woman does with her body. is it the conscience of an insurance company? that's already in the law. is it the conscience of her boss that makes the decision? clearly it is not the conscience of american women in this piece of legislation. bottom line, it sounds to me it's the conscience of republican politicians who want to tell the women of america what they can do with their bodies. let's be very clear, right now,
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current law says that hospitals, insurers and doctors may refuse to perform an abortion or provide coverage for abortion, which already greatly limits women's access to legal procedures. this bill would further extend the dangerous law by allowing health plan sponsors, that means ployers to deny female appliees to legal medical services because the boss has a moral object jecks to it, not the woman who is making the most personal of decisions here. women and their doctors, not their bosses should be making medical decisions and no outsider should be able to decide something as important as the size or timing of having a family. and a women's access to reproductive health should not be dependent on where she works
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or where she goes to school. and more importantly, when a woman's health is in danger, providers would not be required to act to protect the health of that mother. this bill would allow them to refuse to -- this is in the new language, facilitate or make rae rangements for an abortion if they have a moral objection to it. for example, a catholic hospital could force a doctor to withhold information about a patient's dical condition or if that will facilitate that woman obtaining an abortion and refuse to provide transportation for a women who is in distress if the hospital provides abortion. this takes away a woman's right of conscience and we should be voting no. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman illinois' time has
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expired. the gentlewoman from tennessee is recognized. mrs. blackburn: i yield one minute to the majority of the house, mr. mccarthy of california. mr. mccarthy: i thank the gentlelady for yielding. before i begin, i do want to thank congressman fleming and congresswoman black. you know before we come here as members of congress, we have occupations before. representative fleming is a doctor. congresswoman black is a nurse and still a nurse. decades of experience especially within this issue is what drives her. madam speaker, i want to be explicitly clear to remove any confusion about what this legislation is and why we are voting on it today. this bill is not about abortion. now i'm profoundly pro-life and
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i don't hide it, but this bill isn't about that, but about respecting people with different opinions and letting them live their lives without the fear of punishment. i'm not asking people to change their closely-held beliefs today. every law on the books governing abortion will remain exactly the same after this bill is passed. the message is more fundamental. don't force those who are deeply and morally opposed to something to fund it, support it or perform it. we all know america is unlike any other place. in america, we have amish farmers, modern artists, teachers, oil rig workers, we have the left and the right, republican and democrat, and every single one is just as
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american as the other. it's not easy to make this crazy experiment called america work. but we do because we respect that people may live in ways that we don't approve and have opinions that we can't stand. and they are still our neighbors. this mutual respect is the life blood of a free society. now there are millions of people in this country, a majority, in fact, who are pro-life. that believe is intimately tied to our love of others and respect for human dignity. but my pro-life americans face a choice no person should face. do they violate their conscience or violate the law? do they do something they think is wrong or do they lose their job? a nurse in new york was told she had to participate in an abortion, even though she
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objected. her supervisor told her if she didn't she could be fired and even lose her nursing license. now, in my home state of california, a mandate forces pro-life individuals and churches to pay for insurance plans covering the procedure. even if it violates their deeply held belief. now that mandate flies directly in the face of the weldon amendment. to protect conscience rights, something this congress has approved time and again for decades. this mandate was challenged at the department of health and human services. they rejected the complaint. so i met with secretary burwell and many of our colleagues to ask how could this happen. how could a state force people to violate their beliefs. i will tell you, during that meeting and the members were there, too, we don't have an
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answer to our question. but, madam speaker, why is this even a debate? why would the administration want to force someone to violate their conscience? as president obama himself said early in his presidency, and i quote, let's honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion. i agree wholeheartedly with that statement. voting for this bill isn't voting against abortion. it's voting against compulsion. it's voting to reaffirm that mutual respect that's necessary for a free society. and only with that respect can america live in the liberty we have so long enjoyed. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentlelady reserves. the gentlewoman from colorado is recognized. ms. degette: i yield to the
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distinguished ranking member of the energy and commerce committee, mr. pallone, 1 1/2 minutes. the chair recognizes mr. pallone. mr. pallone: when the war on women end? first republicans passed a bill to allow a woman's boss to decide whether she has access to contraceptives and then they passed legislation and bringing another bill to the house floor to limit the women's right to make the best decision for herself and family. this isn't protecting the conscience rights to not provide or participate in abortions. providers have those protections under current law. this bill expands and limits a woman's right to safe and legal abortions. this bill allows the moral eliefs of an employer to limit
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access, a woman, not her employer should make decisions about her health. her health care choices are none of her boss' business. oppose this harmful legislation. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentlewoman from tennessee is recognized. mrs. blackburn: at this time, it is an honor to yield four minutes to one of the authors of this legislation and the primary sponsor, mrs. black from tennessee and to thank her for the excellent job she does on the pro-life issues that affect our state and country. mrs. black: i thank the gentlelady from tennessee, my colleague and my friend. madam speaker, today i rise in support of any bill, the conscience protection act of 2016. this legislation would prevent government from penalizing or in
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any way discriminating against a health care provider for refusing to participate in an abortion. in doing so, it would codify an act known as the weldon act, which has been attached to the annual spending bills since 2004 with bipartisan support. but importantly, the bill would also take the law a step further, allowing for a civil right of action so that the victims of abortion discrimation can have their day in court. today, if you believe you have been discriminated against on the basis of refusing to be involved in an abortion, you appeal to the obama's administration department of health and human services. in the case of kathy de carlo, a pro-life nurse from new york who was forced to assist in an abortion of a 22-week pre-born baby. it took h.h.h.s. three years to
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close her case and in the california where the state department required all insurance plans in the state to offer coverage of elective abortion, h.h.s. took two years to determine that no violation of the law had occurred, this despite the fact that the churches and the christian universities are now required to subsidize abortions through their insurance plans. congress must step in to clarify and strengthen our laws so the conscience rights of every american are protected because madam speaker, if we lose the right to live according to our own convictions, particularly on the matter of a deeply held affecting abortion, we don't have much left, do we? after all, it was thomas jefferson who reminded us that and i quote, no provision ought to be more dear to men than that which protects the right of conscience against the
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enterprises of civil authority. president obama himself echoed this statement in 2009 saying, and i quote, let's honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion. if my colleagues won't listen to the pleas of the pro-life americans asking for protections for these most basic rights maybe they will listen to the words of their president. with this bill i'm not seeking to change anyone's mind on abortion, though i hope one day i can. and i'm not asking my colleagues to rule anyone's abortion illegal, although every act of abortion absolutely breaks my heart. and i'm not asking my colleagues to withhold a dime from a single abortion provider, although i will continue to fight to stop the spending of my constituents' dollars to the industries that take human life. today, i am simply asking the members of this body to allow the millions of americans who believe as i do in the sanctity
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of every human life and to abide by those beliefs without having them trampled upon by their own government. i urge a yes vote on this compassion nature, reasonable and modest bill and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. mrs. blackburn: reserve. the chair: the gentlewoman from colorado is recognized. ms. degette: i yield two minutes to the gentlelady from california, mrs. capps. mrs. capps: i thank my colleague for yielding. i rise in strong opposition to the so-called conscience protection act. despite its name, this bill actually does the opposite. it would infringe upon the beliefs and values of women across this country, putting their bosses' wishes over their own. this is wrong. it's another attempt to play politics with women's health.
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a woman's ability to control when, how or whether to have children is central to her conscience, to her health, to her well-being and economic stability but this bill would consider a woman's wish to be secondary to that of her employer. now let me be personal for just a moment. i'm the daughter of a minister and i grew up in a par sonage and my father was a member of th clearing and i undersnd the importance of religion to the lives of so many including mysf. my faith was a large part of what motivated me as a nurse, as a public health person and motivates me now as a member of congress. because of this, i cannot stand on the sidelines when some are truge to use religion as a justification for discrimation or take away the decision making
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powers and responsibilities of another. health care and the personal decisions a woman makes are not her boss' business. it is far past time to get employers out of the examining room. we need to trust. we need to value women and let them make their own personal health decisions with their health care providers, with their family, with their faith, not politicians. i yield back. . the gentlewoman reserves. mrs. blackburn: at this time i yield four minutes to the other author of this legislation and the primary co-sponsor, dr. fleming of louisiana. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. fleming: yes, madam speaker, before i speak, i would like to enter into the record, i would ask unanimous consent in fact to enter into the record the testimony from honorable dave wheldon, dr. wheldon, author of the wheldon
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amendment, on this very bill. and a few letters i've received from gynecologists from across the country. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. mr. fleming: thank you, madam speaker. life, liberty and the pursuit of happeniness. those words that were inscribed in the declaration of independence. among our inalienable rights. but the most important is life itself. as a physician who's delivered hundreds of babies, a father of four and a grandfather of three, i think i know something about preborn life and about the beginning of life itself. this is much more important than just our day to day work that we do here. so a decision in order for a health care worker or a nonhealth care worker to participate with abortion, whether paying for it or actually performing it, is immensely important, an important debate that we should
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have here. but it's not just on religious grounds, as what's suggested on the other side, but also moral grounds. you see, even an atheist can find it against his or her conscience to participate with an abortion. now, the conscience protection act, what is it and why do we need it? i would say, first of all, that it gives a private right of action to any american who disagrees with being required to pay insurance that would cover elective abortions, certainly a health care provider that may have to participate in any way, a physician, a nurse, anyone should not be required to do that against his or her will. and it protects for that, it gives a private right of action. why do we need a private rht of action? because in the recent example, in california, where secretary burwell has failed, has deliberately avoided enforcing the very law itself, the wheldon amendment that's been
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in law for 12 years, she has failed to enforce that law. and therefore the people of california, millions of people, do not have an access to court. they cannot complain, they can't do anything and get relief. what this bill does is allow them to open that courtroom door and to get that relief and not be required any longer to participate with borgs, spending or otherwise -- abortions, spenledsing or otherwise. the -- spending or otherwise. the other side might say, what's the need for this, is anyone being harmed? of course they are. you heard the case where the nurse had to participate with putting dismembered body parts back together of a 22-week-old fetus. naussau he nurses of university medical center who were suspended for refusing to assist in abortions and we have many, many other cases. but i would just say to you in conclusion today, this is the lands of the free. -- land of the free. this is, again, life, the
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pursuit of happiness. and certainly it's important that we -- what we do here today in passing this bill, that we protect the conscience rights not just -- rights, not just the religious rights, but the moral rights of our fellow citizens of america. and we do the right thing and we go on and are we work from there. thank you. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentlewoman reserves. the gentleman from colorado is recognized. ms. degette: thank you, madam speaker. i'm pleased to yield to the gentlewoman from florida. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. castor: i thank the gentlelady for yielding. i rise in opposition to senate bill 304, because this republican bill discriminates against women. in fact, it promotes discrimination by sanctions interference with a woman's ability to make her own personal health decisions. this bill, which was brought to the floor without any hearings
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in the congress, rushed -- it's been done as the republicans -- republics rush for the exits for -- republicans rush for the exits for summer recess tomorrow, it highlights the inability of the republican majority to focus on she the issues that are -- on the issues that are affecting american families. like things to keep us safe, like keeping military-style weapons out of the hands of terrorists ordaining rouse people. won't allow a debate or vote on that. addressing the flint water crisis, haven't had a vote, debate or help for those families. or the emerging public health crisis of zika. in my home state of florida, we now are approaching 300 cases of zika, including 43 pregnant women. and what we know is birth defects are directly tied to zika. the zika virus. i hope that will weigh on everyone's conscience, as the republicans move toward adjournment without taking any action on the zika virus. there was a report yesterday, infectious disease experts are
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shocked that congress has s about to leave town for the -- congress is about to leave town for the summer without doing anything to combat the zika virus. in the almost 40 years i've been in this business, i've never seen anything like what's happening with zika, says an advisor to foreign administrations. some infectious disease experts say they're stunned by what's happened with zika, months of waiting while the virus has reached and has the potential to cause widespread birth defects in the u.s. grows. so, colleagues, i urge you to defeat this discriminatory bill and get back to the business of the american people. keeping them safe, like addressing the zika virus. not attacking the constitutional rights of women and their ability to make their own health care decisions. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. -- the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. the gentlewoman from colorado reserves. the gentlewoman from tennessee is recognized. mrs. blackburn: yes. at this time i yield one minute to ms. hartler and use this time to thank her for her
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leadership on life issues in this body. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. mrs. hartzler: thank you, madam speaker. i rise today in firm support of the conscience protection act, the validity and timeliness of this legislation could not be more important, in light of recent events in california, which religious employers are being forced to violate their beliefs by purchasing health coverage for their employees that includes elective abortion and, as stories surface that you've heard about today, of nurses being forced to participate in abortion procedures or else risk losing their jobs. the time to correct this injustice is now. it is unthinkable that the government could and would force a person to act against their personally held beliefs. yet that is what is happening. in a speech at notre dame in 2009, president obama said, let's honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion. but those words have rung hollow as his administration
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has sided with those two w.h.o. violate the first amendment. it doesn't have to be like this. -- with those who violate the first amendment. it doesn't have to be like this. this gives legal protection to those who choose not to participate in abortions and upholds our most fundamental rights. there is no more noble goal. the government should not be picking and choosing our beliefs. those who have had this happen to them deserve their day in court. this bill will give them that day. i urge my colleagues to vote in favor of the conscience protection act and against coerced compliesity in abortion. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman reserves the balance of her time. the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. degette: pleased to yield two minutes to mr. kennedy. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. kennedy: i thank my colleague from colorado for yielding. for being such a strong voice on women's rights in this country. colleagues, yesterday this body considered a bill that would
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codify discrimination against our nation's lgbt community, under the guise of religious freedom. today we're debating legislation that would similarly distort this country's sacred promise of religious liberty and use it as a vehicle to deny women access to health care. make no mistake, the ability to freely and fully practice your faith is a fundamental bedrock of american liberty. to ensure that liberty for all of us, our constitution establishes a simple boundary. one person's sincerely held beliefs cannot trump another's. my freedoms and rights cannot be used to limit yours. in this country, access to abortion is a right. as our justices have ruled time and again. so let's be clear. this bill is not about protecting religious freedom, of an employer or insurer. it's about imposing the religious views of a few on the
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health care choices of the many. this bill is not about protecting women's health. instead it will create a dangerous discriminatory barrier to access to care for women and their families. those who oppose abortion are free to exercise that belief fully in their personal lifes -- lives. that is the promise that our country makes to each of us. but nowhere does this country promise that your government will be the vehicle to which your beliefs are imposed on someone else. your neighbor, your co-worker, your employer or your friend. nowhere do we say that my faith is more legitimate than yours or that your religious principles outweigh my access to basic civil rights. in fact, the constitution expressly prohibits that sort of system. in the very first words of the very first amendment. since those words were written, the ever-changing, often
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illusive balance between religious freedom and civil rights in this country has been fought for every single day throughout our history. passing this bill is an affront to those honest efforts, the vast majority of americans who value both that faith and our freedom. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentlewoman reserves. the gentlewoman is recognized. mrs. blackburn: i'm honored to yield one minute to the gentlelady from nebraska, mr. fortenberry. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. fortenberry: i thank the gentlelady from tennessee for her leadership on this and so many other important issues. madam speaker, we've all used this expression, i can't do that in good conscience. but we really don't think deeply about what it means, so let me take a moment from the debate here and explore that question deeper. conscience is the sacred space of human dignity. conscience is the place where, one, a person uses the faculty
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their on in exercising deeply held, sincere beliefs, to make a judgment in a particular circumstance about what is right or wrong, what they ought to do or not to do. when the government comes along and robs us of our right to exercise our conscience, the government contradicts the very principle of its existence, of its purpose. the government imposes a dictate and violates that sacred space, the good of the human person and the good of community. that's unjust. that's not america. that's an exercise in power. that's an imposition of the few with power on the many who deserve protection from their government. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentlelady reserves. the gentlelady is recognized. ms. degette: madam speaker, i am now pleased to yield two minutes to the distinguished
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gentleman from illinois, mr. foster. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. foster: madam speaker, i rise today to speak out against the so-called conscience protection act. i proudly represent the 11th istrict of illinois. and as someone who supports a woman's right to choose, i find it deeply disturbing that so many lawmakers today want to make health care access more difficult for women. this legislation will be detrimental to women's health because it gives individuals and corporations a license to discriminate against women's reproductive choices. but i am also the only ph.d. scientist in congress. and as a scientist, i find it outrageous that this bill will give health care companies the right to deny accurate medical information to patients. this kind of legislation deliberately undercuts a woman's relationship to her doctor and has no place in the laws of our country.
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it is designed to confuse and to muddle the responsibilities of the medical community who have been trained to make the best possible decisions for the patients in their trust. it therefore prioritizes ideology above science and reason, to the detriment of women throughout the country. every woman has the legal and constitutional right to make the health care decisions that are right for her and to receive scientifically correct advice from her health care providers. so i strongly urge my colleagues to oppose this rouse sary and dange legislation. thank you and i yield back -- and dangerous legislation. thank you and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentlewoman reserves. the gentlewoman is recognized. mrs. blackburn: at this time i yield two minutes to the gentleman from louisiana, mr. scalise, who is the majority whip. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. scalise: thank you, madam speaker. i want to thank the gentlelady from tennessee for yielding and
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for her leadership not only on this bill, but especially for her work as chair of the select panel on infant health. when we talk about this legislation, the conscience protection act, i do want to also thank the author of the bill, diane black, as well as dr. john fleming, who helped lead this effort to draft it and chairman joe pitts and chris smith as well. it's so important we pass the conscience protection act. if you look at our bill of rights, our constitution and the framework that gives people all across this country true religious freedom, we recognize now that religious freedom is now under attack and you don't need to look any further than the state of california that passed a law that really was the beginning of bringing this bill forward. under the california law, it started forcing people to perform abortions against their own faith. we heard the story of kathy de
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carlo, a nurse who was forced to participate in the abortion of a baby that was 22 weeks old at delivery. this should not happen in the united states of america. people should not be forced to violate their religious freedom but yet it's going on because this administration has not been enforcing the law. the weldon act that has been on the books gives that religious freedom protection that's now in jeopardy. and so, madam speaker, what we are doing with this bill is restoring the law but doing two specific things. first, we are making it very clear that this permanent -- that this annual appropriations language becomes permanent. we shouldn't have to rely on establishing the law. make this law permanent giving that religious supreme protection. and we are no longer depending on h.h.s. alone who is not doing
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their job. we actually give people the ability to enforce the law us pass this let act and i urge my colleagues to support it and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from colorado is recognized. ms. degette: i yield 1 1/2 minutes to the distinguished gentlelady from new york, mrs. maloney. the speaker pro tempore: the entlelady is recognized. mrs. maloney: i rise in strong opposition to the so-called conscience protection act. it is, in fact, a bill that offends the conscience and threatens the health and security of women. this vindictive bill is yet another tactic to throw
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roadblocks between women and their constitutional right to choose their own form of reproductive health care. neither an employer nor an insurance company has the right to dictate a woman's health care choices. that's right. this bill permits insurance companies to deny certain coverage based on religious or moral grounds. this is merely another deliberate attempt to cut off women from safe, legal, comprehensive health care services. it could even restrict medical communication between a patient and her doctor or prevent women from getting critical emergency care. there are already sufficient laws in place that religious institutions and providers cannot be compeled to provide abortions if they are morally opposed. who are we protecting? this bill is not about
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conscience. it's an attack on women and attack on their health care. it is a vehicle of discrimation against women and women only. i urge my colleagues to vote against this unnecessary and destructive bill. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from colorado reserves. the gentlewoman from tennessee is recognized. mrs. blackburn: mr. speaker, i'm so honored that today we have on the floor, chairman of our health subcommittee and one of is retiringders, he him. we are going to miss his leadership on all the life issues. and i yield one minute to mr. pitts. mr. pitts: i ask unanimous consent to submit several statements to the record. i rise in strong support for the bill before us today. it is a urgent and necessary
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fix. the conscience protection act would make provisions more effective and permanent. the weldon amendment has been the law of the land and approved by congress as part of the appropriations process every year since 2004. sadly three weeks ago, the u.s. department of health and human services office of civil rights ruled that the state of california managed health care did not violate when it required abortions in all insurance plans. due to this discrimation on plans that excluded objection, objectors are forced to cover abortions against the dictates of their conscience. this bill protects those who do not wish to participate in, provide for or pay for. it is this right to decline an abortion that requires these protections and the protections an agrieved right
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of civil action. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from colorado. gentlewoman has 15 minutes remaining. the gentlewoman from tennessee has 11 1/2 minutes remaining. ms. degette: i yield two minutes to the the gentleman from california, mr. l. >> i rise in opposition to another bill that comes between a woman and a doctor. people talk about laws in california. this is my license to practice medicine in california. i took the oath, do good and do know harm and the third is patient autonomy. that's what i want to talk about
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today, because what is buried in our constitution is individual rights and liberties. there is no right more sacred than what we do with our own bodies. now my job as a doctor is to sit in that example room, answer the questions and empower my patients to make the decisions that best impact their lives. that's why i find the conscience protection act so objectionable, because it takes away a patient's right to make the decisions about their own health care. let me give you an example of what happened in our state. in northern california, earlier this year, a woman was going to have a baby and wanted to have that baby and scheduled to have a c-section but had kids and wanted a tubligation. that is acceptable. that is standard medical care.
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the problem was her hospital said she couldn't do it because they consciencely objected to it. that isn't a health care provider making a decision. that isn't taking best medical practice and making a decision. it wasn't anything objectionable about that. that is why we need to get the government out of our health care system and need to get politicians out of the examining room and we need to make these decisions about that sacred bond between a patient and their physician, because she needs to make the decision. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized for 30 seconds. mr. bera: is about honoring that sacred oath between the patient and physician. let's protect patients' rights and make our women able to make the decisions that best impact their lives and that is what about, individual vidual
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liberties and individual rights. thank you, and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from tennessee is recognized. mrs. blackburn: i yield one minute to mr. bilirakis of florida. mr. bilirakis: i rise in support of the conscience protection act. this legislation helps us protect our nation's most vulnerable and protects health care providers' right of choice. the conscience protection act will enable health care providers, charities, businesses and churches to have the power to make decisions regarding their practices. our government should not force these entities to participate in or perform abortions against their deeply moral, ethical or religious beliefs. no american should be forced to act against their beliefs. i'm proud this bill provides protection to those who do not wish to be part of these practices. i thank my colleagues on the energy and commerce committee for their work on this important
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bill and i urge my colleagues to support. and i yield back. mrs. blackburn: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from tennessee reserves. the gentlewoman from colorado is recognized. ms. degette: i yield to the gentlelady from district of columbia two minutes. ms. norton: i thank my friend for yielding to me and i come to rise in strong opposition to this bill. republicans have a hard time winning, especially on abortion. already, no federal funds for abortion except rape, incease or life of a mother. already religious objections must be accommodated. but this bill allows the mployer to veto his employee's reproductive health choices. how un-american. let's thank the supreme court of the united states that in an
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unusual move, has just sent a case back to the justice department for an appropriate compromise after nuns did not want to fill out a form and solving them from making a decision on abortion for their employees. the court said you can find an answer without did he priving employees of their health care choices. some republicans won't be satisfied until abortion is unavailable nationwide as congress has done to its shame for poor women in the district of columbia, whose local tax funds cannot be used for abortion services. this choice belongs to women and to women alone. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the the
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gentlewoman from colorado reserves. the gentlewoman from tennessee is recognized. mrs. blackburn: i want to join mr. pitts who submitted some of the statements from the protection act forum. submit those for the record. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. . mrs. blackburn: i would like to recognize our conference chair who is also a member of the energy and commerce committee ms. mrs. mcmorris rodgers. mrs. mcmorris rodgers: in america, we think, worship and believe differently. we are granted the freedom to believe and the freedom that sets us apart and makes us unique. it's not a flaw. it's special. it's spectacular. preserving this freedom isn't easy. living in a country where everyone is promised to live free is difficult. but it is a challenge that we have risen to time and time
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again and we must continue to do so. all of this is exactly why the conscience protection act is so important. it stops the government from coming in and taking away a person's freedom to choose a doctor who shares their beliefs or forcing churches to make decisions that violate their conscience like purchasing health insurance plans who go against who they are. and it allows doctors and health care providers to focus on healing and caring. without the fear of the government telling them they have to do something that violates who they are and what they believe sm the federal government isn't supposed to be discriminating against health care providers who refuse to participate in abortion. here we have the department of health and human services ignoring the law and doing whatever they want to do. and along the way they are ignoring people, people who wish to leave abortions out of their coverage or medical practice.
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there are a number of reasons this kind of discrimation cannot stand but the biggest reason, people are being told what to do and how to believe by the government. in this case, it's the department of health and human services joining the ranks of countless, faceless bureaucrats e trying to dictate what the dictates out and they have to stop it. people who believe differently than us are promised the freedom to find unity and no one should be denied that freedom based on their unwillingness to support in abortion. support the conscience protection act on behalf of people who are trying to live their lives and believe in the right thing. and i yield back. mrs. blackburn: reserve. ms. degette: i'm pleased to yield to the gentlelady from massachusetts two minutes.
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ms. clark: i thank the gentlelady from colorado for yielding and all her work on this area. mr. speaker, the bill before us today would allow a woman's boss to decide what type of medical care she is allowed to access. republicans are telling us that it is not up to a woman to consult her doctor or her family or her own faith, but she needs to consult with her boss when it comes to her personal, private and constitutionally protected medical decision. . here we are in the midst of health emergencies, nearly 50 american wind chill diagnosed with zika every -- american women diagnosed with zika every single day, a dangerously underfunded opioid response program, no relief for the families of flint, michigan, and the worst gun massacre in our country's history.
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but this is the republican majority's priority? the response to these emergencies is wrapping themselves in religious liberty when religious objections are already protected under this law. under our current laws, as they should be. and instead insert themselves into a woman's most private medical decisions. this is no way to govern. i know it, the majority knows it, and the american people are oing to remember it. this socaled conscience protection act is ironically titled because i cannot imagine a more blatant admission of this congress' crisis of conscience. when 91 people are dying every day by guns, with the threat of zika to unborn babies, unanswered and unfunded, with 125 deaths from opiates every day in this country, this bill
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is an abject rejection of conscience. if anyone needs their conscience protected, it is the republicans in congress who think this is what we should be dealing with right now. my question to my colleagues is this, how does your conscience feel when you remain silent in the face of such tragedy and public health threats? the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. the gentlewoman from colorado reserves. the gentlewoman from tennessee is recognized. mrs. blackburn: thank you. that the time i am pleased to yield one minute -- at this time i am pleased to yield one minute to mr. huelskamp, who is a true fighter on the veterans' affairs committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. huelskamp: i thank my colleague from tennessee, mr. chairman. in 2009, president obama told notre dame university graduates , let's honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion and draft a sensible, conscience clause -- sensible conscience clause and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded not only in sound science but also in clear ethics. over the course of the ensuing
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eight years, however, what the president has said and what he is doing now are completely opposite. instead of protecting the conscience of those who disagree, the president and his administration have discriminated against americans because of their views on abortion. no american should be forced to participate in an abortion or be coerced to purchase a health care plan which includes abortion. yet today that's exactly what is happening. in california churches are being forced to purchase health care plans and pay for abortion , yes, churches. in america, respecting the freedom of conscience is a long held american tradition. let's continue that tradition today and pass the conscience protection act. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from tennessee reserves. the gentlewoman from colorado is recognized. ms. degette: mr. speaker, i only have two remaining speakers so i'm going to go ahead and reserve, if the gentlelady would like to call on a few of her speakers. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from colorado reserves. the gentlewoman from tennessee is recognized. mrs. blackburn: at this time i
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recognize mr. hultgren for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. hultgren: thank you, mr. speaker. a central principle in our nation's history has been a clear rejection of government forcing someone to take an action that violates their religious or moral convictionses. americans rejected being forced to return runaway slaves. we rejected force conscription against con yen shuss -- objections. no one should be forced to have an abortion, no one should be forced to participate in an abortion. and no one should be discriminated against for refusing to collaborate in an abortion. when government endangers these protections and discriminates against health care providers who are holding fast to their moral convictions, it's time to provide safeguards. that's why i urge the house to pass s. 304, the conscience protection act of 2016. no one should be forced to
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purchase health plans that cover abortions. certainly no one, nurses, doctors or other health care providers, should be forced to help carry out an abortion against their conscience. certainly no one should be punished or discriminated against for refusing to carry out this gruesome procedure. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from tennessee reserves. would the gentlewoman from colorado like to continue to reserve? ms. degette: yes, sir. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from tennessee is recognized. mrs. blackburn: at this time i recognize for one minute mr. lahood of illinois. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. l.a. l.a. thank you, mr. speaker --hoodhood thank you, mr. speaker. i rise -- mr. lahood: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today in support of this act. health care is about saving life, not taking life. medical professionals should not be forced to violate their deeply held convictions and participate in abortion procedures based on a government mandate. in this nation, universities and even churches are being forced to cover abortion through their insurance plans. these mandates trample on
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religious freedom. this bill that i support here today would stop the federal government and state and local governments from penalizing, retaliating and discriminating against the health care provider if that provider chooses to not participate in abortion services. i am the proud father of three boys with my wife, kristen, and also a practicing catholic. i stand here today in defense of the unborn and religious freedom. mr. speaker, i urge my colleagues, regardless of their faith or their views on abortion, to understand and realize that this form of government coercion is immoral. we must protect americans' rights to follow their conscience. and i urge my colleagues to support this necessary legislation. thank you and yield back. the speaker pro tempore: i -- mrs. blackburn: i reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from tennessee reserves. the gentlewoman from colorado is recognized. ms. degette: i'm now very pleased to yield two minutes to the distinguished gentlelady from florida, ms. frankel.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. franklin: i thank the gentlelady for yielding -- ms. frankel: i thank the gentlelady for yielding. i rise in strong opposition to the so-called conscience protection act. which allows employers and others to block women's access to full health care. under the guise of conscience protection, this is a hypocritical bill that would make it even harder for women to obtain the reproductive health care they need. hypocritical because it does nothing to protect the doctors whose conscience guides them to provide women with safe, legal abortions. hundreds of punitive bills filed in state legislature and in this congress, these providers face the threat of harsh penalties for following their conscience. onerous fines, years in prison and loss of their medical license. with that said, mr. speaker, let me respectfully suggest that the consciences that we
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should be protecting today belong to the women of this nation who should be allowed to choose their own reproductive destiny. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from colorado reserves. the gentlewoman from tennessee is recognized. mrs. blackburn: at this time i yield one minute to mr. rothfus. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. rothfus: thank you, mr. speaker. as seen in this debate, few issues divide this country the way abortion does. one side argues an autonomy that allows no questions. the other side employees we recognize the god-given right to life of all human beings. notwithstanding these divisions, our citizens have long agreed that no one should be coerced into participating in an abortion or paying for an abortion. pro-life americans have deeply held convictions that abortion destroys a human life. they have watched sonograms of babies in utero and they have seen the tragic aftermath.
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they do not want to be involved in this procedure in any way. yet from a new york nurse who has been forced against her conscience to take part in aborting a 22-week-old baby to catholic institutions in california being forced to pay for insurance plans that cover abortion, people of conscience are threatened. this is wrong. martin luther king, a faith leader, he was a reverend, was a powerful advocate for conscience rights. dr. king put it simply, conscience, ask the question, is it right? the conscience protection act is in the long tradition of our nation's respect for religious freedom and the protection of people of conscience. i urge support for this legislation and yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from tennessee reserves. the gentlewoman from colorado is recognized. ms. degette: we're ready to close, so we'll reserve until the majority is ready. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman reserves the balance of her time. mrs. blackburn: the time remaining on each side, please, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from tennessee has four minutes. the gentlewoman from colorado has eight minutes. mrs. blackburn: one minute i yield to dr. wenstrup.
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the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. owens: thank you -- mr. wenstrup: thank you. i stand in support of this act which would prevent the government from discriminating against health care providers who choose not to participate in abortion. i'm a co-sponsor of this bill and i stand before you today as a surgeon who has practiced for over 2 1/2 decades. i want to say clearly that no health care provider should be forced to participate in abortion or any other medical or surgical procedure, for that matter, against their will. doctors take an oath to do no harm, i took that oath myself. health care's about protecting life, not taking life. make no mistake about, it i am pro-life. forcing health care providers to violate their conscience is a rejection of the individual liberty on which our nation is built. even more to make a point, what patient would want a doctor to perform a procedure, any procedure, that they don't feel comfortable with? for whatever reason they don't feel comfortable with it. this defies human reason. and forcing it defies human
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freedom. in this, the land of the free, or so we say. health care providers are not owned by the government or any other entity. no american is owned by the government or any other entity. this protection is long overdue aped strongly urge my colleagues to support this crucial bill and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman from colorado reserves. the gentlewoman from tennessee is recognized. mrs. blackburn: we are at the point for closing. so are you ready to close? ms. degette: yes, ma'am. mrs. blackburn: i reserve and i yield. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from tennessee reserves. the gentlewoman from colorado is recognized. ms. degette: thank you. i yield myself the balance of the time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman is recognized. ms. degette: thank you. mr. speaker, when i started this debate, i said that this bill is really a wolf in sheep's clothing and i meant it. we have heard throughout this last hour many calls for conscience. many assertions that people
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shouldn't be forced to perform abortions against their religious convictions. we've even just now saw a quote from my hero, dr. martin luther king, here on the floor, talking about civil rights. well, guess what? as speaker after speaker on our side has pointed out, under current law, providers are not required to provide abortions. his has been the law since the 1970's. when the church amendment was passed. in the 1970's, when the church amendment was passed, it's been law ever since then, i was in high school at that time. it says that providers do not have to provide abortions against their religious convicts. and they have legal recourse if they don't want to do it. the church amendment was expanded in 2005 by the so-called wheldon amendment, which has been an
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appropriations rider since that time. what the wheldon amendment says is that no federal funding will be made available to government entities that subject a health care entity, physicians, hospitals or h.m.o.'s, to discrimination because it does not provide pay-for coverage for abortions. so in fact under current law, if somebody is being made to provide abortion services against their will, they have recourse. and guess what? in every single example that the majority gave today, they had recourse and they won. let's talk about the catherine decarlo case, the nurse in new york that so many of my colleagues have referred to. who, by her employer, was required against her ethical convictions to provide abortion services. she filed suit or she filed a complaint with the office of
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civil rights, as she's allowed to under law, and an investigation ensued and guess what? the hospital was required to take remedial action and change their policy. mr. speaker, i would ask unanimous consent to put the decision from the department of health and human services entered under the obama administration giving this into the record. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered. ms. degette: thank you. let's talk about the nine nawca county nurses, required by their employer to provide these services. all of those nurses were reinstated to their job after they made a complaint. so, according to any example that we've gotten, these people have had recourse under current law. so what does this bill do? this bill doesn't give anybody any more conscientious ability to object. what this bill does is it allows whole new classes of people to refuse to provide
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services to the women of america. it allows employers, it allows health care plans and health plan sponsors to refuse to provide women the services they need. the only people that are going to hurt -- be hurt by this are the patients, and i'll tell you what, if you want to talk about civil rights, talk about the civil rights of those patients, talk about mindy swank, who is a woman from illinois. she was denied care by a catholic hospital when her water broke in just 20 weeks into her pregnancy. even though her life would have been endangered by continuing the pregnancy, and it could have threatened her ability to have more children in the future, the hospital she visited not only refused to treat her, but it refused to provide documentation that her abortion was medically necessary so somebody else could treat her. she was forced to wait weeks, returning to the hospital four

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