By Miri Cypers, Senior Policy and Advocacy Specialist
Yesterday, Jewish Women International hosted a Congressional briefing titled “Whose Conscience Matters? When Health Care Exemptions Fail Patients and Health Care Professionals,” along with Catholics for Choice, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, National Council of Jewish Women, Planned Parenthood Clergy Advisory Board, and the Religious Institute.
Speakers explored the history of conscience clauses and harmful legislation and regulations proposed by Congress and the Administration that would expand these clauses. By expanding refusal clauses to allow health care providers, religious institutions, even pharmacists the ability to deny women abortions, medical referrals, and contraception, the conscience of an individual woman is devalued.
As anti-family planning advocates fight for the expansion of religious exemptions or refusal clauses in everywhere from the new health care reform bill to Congress, please join JWI by staying informed and active and help us raise the voice of the progressive, faith community on this critical issue. We strongly believe that women must be able to make personal health care decisions according to the dictates of their own faith and beliefs- not according to the conscience of others.