Conscience Protection Act of 2017 (S. 301)
This law was last updated on Sep 16, 2019
S. 301 would amend the Public Health Service Act to codify the prohibition against the federal government and state and local governments that receive federal financial assistance for health-related activities penalizing or discriminating against a health-care provider based on the provider’s refusal to be involved in, or provide coverage for, abortion.
The act defines health-care provider to mean:
- an individual physician or other health professional;
- a hospital, health system, or other health-care facility or organization;
- a provider-sponsored organization, an accountable care organization, or a health maintenance organization;
- a social services provider that provides or authorizes referrals for health-care services;
- a program of training in the health professions or an applicant to or participant in such a program;
- an issuer of health insurance coverage; or
- a group health plan or student health plan, or a sponsor or administrator thereof.
Specifically, the federal government, and any state or local government, would be prohibited from retaliating against a provider who refuses to participate in an abortion, provide or sponsor abortion coverage, or facilitate or make arrangements for such activities.
The Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services, in coordination with the Department of Justice (DOJ), would be required to investigate complaints alleging discrimination based on an individual’s religious belief, moral conviction, or refusal to be involved in an abortion.
Companion bill to H.R. 644.
The Conscience Protection Act has been included as a rider to the House’s FY 2018 Labor Health and Human Services appropriations bill.