Conscience Protection Act of 2016 (S. 304)
This law was last updated on Oct 29, 2018
S. 304 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.
“Health care provider” is defined to mean:
- an individual physician, nurse, or other health professional;
- a hospital, health system, or 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.
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.
The DOJ or any entity adversely affected by such discrimination may obtain equitable or legal relief in a civil action.
Passed the Senate on April 28, 2015, by unanimous consent.
Passed the House on July 13, 2016, by a 245-182 vote.