National Partnership for Women & Families

In the News

House Bill Would Permit Religious, Moral Objections to ACA Provisions, Protect Providers Who Refuse Services

House Bill Would Permit Religious, Moral Objections to ACA Provisions, Protect Providers Who Refuse Services

March 5, 2013 — A group of House lawmakers on Monday unveiled legislation (HR 940) that would allow employers, insurers, providers and individuals to refuse to comply with various Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148) provisions or provide certain services because of moral or religious objections, CQ Roll Call reports.

Reps. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), John Fleming (R-La.) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) plan to discuss the measure at a press conference on Tuesday. Rep. Daniel Lipinski (Ill.) is the sole Democrat among the bill's 50 co-sponsors.

Details of Legislation

According to CQ Roll Call, the bill would allow employers and health plans to refuse to comply with the federal contraceptive coverage rules or cover other services they oppose for religious or moral reasons. The bill also would permit individuals to refuse to purchase health coverage for those reasons. It would bar any tax or sanction under the ACA against individuals or entities that have religious and moral objections.

Further, the bill would expand protections for health care providers -- including hospitals and physicians -- that refuse to provide abortion services. It also would expand the definition of a health care entity to include health insurance issuers and hospitals, CQ Roll Call reports (Attias, CQ Roll Call, 3/4).