The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor and Health and Human Services has released the draft 2013 Labor/HHS appropriations bill. Significantly, this bill incorporates the provisions of HR 1179, the respect for rights of conscience act. This provides protection for health care professionals who decline to perform or assist with abortions, for example. It also provides conscience protection for individuals and organizations whose religious liberty is threatened by the HHS mandate.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has expressed their appreciation of the addition of this language in the appropriations bill. On July 17th, Cardinal DiNardo of Houston, the USCCB committee chairman on pro-life activities, wrote a letter to the committee requesting that they include conscience protection in the bill.
This bill must clear the entire HAC, and then the House, before being sent to the Senate.