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Congressman Diane Black

Representing the 6th District of Tennessee

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Draft HHS Rule a Win for Religious Freedom

June 7, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) joined with Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-IN-02), Martha Roby (R-AL-02), Virginia Foxx (R-NC-05) and Vicky Hartzler (R-MO-04) praising the leaked Health and Human Services (HHS) regulation that would exempt employers from providing contraceptive coverage for employees on the basis of moral or religious objection. Black, Walorski, Roby, Foxx and Hartzler released the following statements:

“Obamacare has devastated religious organizations, schools, and businesses, forcing them to cover abortion-related services that violate their religious beliefs. Protecting religious liberty is a foundational principle of this country, and this draft rule is a victory against President Obama’s assault on people of faith nationwide. Americans will no longer have to seek a burdensome exemption from the heavy hand of government, they will be left alone to practice their religion as they choose,” said Congressman Black.  

“Religious freedom is among our most basic rights and founding principles as Americans,” said Congresswoman Walorski. “I applaud the Trump administration’s commitment to safeguarding conscience rights and ensuring private organizations and businesses aren’t forced to violate their religious beliefs due to government mandates.”

“No organization should be forced to offer abortion-related services in violation of their religious convictions. The Department of Health and Human Services’ draft rule halting this Obama-era coercion rightfully defends religious freedom. This is a principal our country was founded upon, and it is our responsibility to protect it," said Congresswoman Roby.

“The protection of religious belief and practice is enshrined in our Constitution’s First Amendment, and neither ends at the threshold of a house of worship. It’s time to alleviate the undue burden on religious non-profits under Obamacare. The people who serve in these ministries have dedicated their lives to living out their religious convictions and they – not the government – are the best guide for what violates those principles,” said Congresswoman Foxx.

"This leaked draft provides important exemptions for organizations with religious or moral objections to the HHS mandate,” said Congresswoman Hartzler, who chairs the House Values Action Team. “In other words, religious charities like the Little Sisters of the Poor, faith-based universities, family-owned businesses, and individuals with moral objections will now be able to provide employees with health care policies consistent with their conscience and the organizations’ mission. The previous administration's heavy-handed approach went out of its way to force a mandate that violates the faith and ethical sensibilities of the American public. This action strikes a balance between federal interests and core First Amendment principles--a far cry from threatening the Little Sisters of the Poor with crippling fines for practicing their faith in everyday life.”

Congressman Black, in conjunction with Pro-Life Members, will be sending a letter to Secretary Price in support of the HHS regulation.

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Congressman Diane Black represents Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District. A nurse for more than 40 years, she serves as Chairman of the House Budget Committee and a member of the Ways and Means Committee.

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