Healthcare Rights of Conscience


HB 517 by pro-life Rep. Bernard Lebas (D-Ville Platte) has been under sustained attack with false and deceptive claims being spread by Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).   As reported to you earlier, Rep. John Bel Edwards (D-Amite) used outrageous arguments advanced by these groups who are opposed to respecting the religious liberties of pro-life individuals and organizations.   The Edwards amendments severely damaged the bill, providing that only healthcare providers in the public sector are entitled to conscience protection for a limited amount of procedures.  This leaves out private individuals and faith-based health care organizations that provide a significant amount of health care services to the people of Louisiana

In the Senate Health and Welfare committee this past Wednesday, Senator Cheryl Gray Evans (D-Baton Rouge) sided with Planned Parenthood and company by stripping the pro-life amendments that would have restored H.B. 517 to a pro-life posture.  Confusion reigned in the 2 hour committee hearing with Planned Parenthood representatives making outrageous allegations that the bill allows "racist medicine," and the ACLU alleging [PFLI note: quite bogusly] that conscience protections for Judeo-Christian values could lead to a situation where Muslims would try to impose Sharia law.  To avoid the bill coming out of committee with bad amendments, Rep. LeBas voluntarily deferred HB 517 until next week, Wednesday, June 10, so that the committee members could be briefed on the actual provisions of the bill and the need to remove the Edwards amendments picked up in the House.

ACTION:  If you are in the district of one of the Senate Health and Welfare members, please let them know that they should OPPOSE any amendment offered by pro-abortion rights advocates Senator Cheryl Gray Evans or Senator Yvonne Dorsey

Senators Ben Neavers and Dale Eardy and Chairwoman Willie Mount have been strong pro-life proponents. 

Senators David Heitmeier and Sherry Cheek are the key needed votes -- they are open to learning about the need for this legislation and the importance of H.B.517 to their constituents. 

Suggested Message:
The best healthcare in the world depends on the freedom of conscience of
both individuals and faith-based organizations to practice in an environment where they cannot be forced to participate in or pay for practices that violate their religious beliefs or moral convictions.
  Please OPPOSE any committee amendments to HB 517 offered by Senator Gray-Evans or Senator Dorsey.

Contact info for Senator David Heitmeier: 
Representing the
Algiers section of Orleans Parish, parts of Gretna, Terrytown, Harvey, and Woodmere in Jefferson Parish, and the Belle Chasse area of Plaquemines Parish. 

Contact info for Senator Sherri Cheek:
Representing citizens in District 38 around the Keithville area.

When H.B. 517 is headed to the Senate floor, we will provide everyone with an automatic link to contact your personal Senator about the importance of protecting healthcare rights of conscience.

Bioethics Defense Fund
Human Rights from Beginning to End

Media Contact:
Dorinda C. Bordlee
Bioethics Defense Fund


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