February 29, 2012

Update on Battle to Protect Religious Freedom
and Right of Conscience

William A. Estrada, Esq. Director of Federal Relations

Last week, we asked you to call the U.S. Senate to support Amendment Number 1520, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, by Senator Roy Blunt (MO). This amendment to the Senate’s Transportation Bill would protect religious freedom and conscience rights, and would ensure that religious employers do not need to violate their religious beliefs or conscience as a result of the recent mandate from the Obama administration requiring all employers to provide their employees with free birth control and abortion-inducing drugs. The Senate is currently on Presidents Day recess, but is scheduled to vote on Amendment Number 1540 when they return next week.

Your calls are still as important as ever. We ask you to do the following three things:

  • Please take this recess as an opportunity to participate in a town hall event or visit a district office while your senators are home, and share your concerns.
  • Please call your two U.S. senators and urge them to cosponsor Senator Blunt’s Amendment Number 1520, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, and vote in favor of it. You can reach the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 or use HSLDA’s Legislative Toolbox to enter your ZIP code and find your senators’ phone numbers.
  • Please forward this article to friends and urge them to call their senators. This is not a homeschool issue, so there is no need to identify yourself as a homeschooler.

Your message can be as simple as the following:

“Please cosponsor and vote for Senator Blunt’s Amendment Number 1520, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, which will overturn President Obama’s contraceptives mandate requiring religious employers to violate their conscience and religious beliefs. To protect the sanctity of the First Amendment, and the right of conscience upon which our nation was founded, the U.S. Senate must act to preserve the freedom of religious employers to follow the dictates of their conscience.”

Background

We have previously urged you to call the U.S. Senate to support Amendment No. 1520, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, by Senator Roy Blunt (MO). This amendment to the Senate’s Transportation Bill would protect religious freedom and conscience rights, and would ensure that employers are not forced by the federal government to violate their religious beliefs or conscience as a result of the recent Obama Administration mandate requiring all employers to give employees free birth control and abortion-inducing drugs. The Senate will vote on Amendment Number 1520 tomorrow, Thursday, March 1. The vote is expected to be extremely close.

Please immediately call (because of the short time, phone calls, not emails, are best) your two U.S. senators and urge them to support this crucial amendment. You can reach the Capitol Switchboard (and ask to be transferred to your senators’ offices) at 202-224-3121 or use HSLDA’s Congressional Directory to enter your ZIP code and find your senators’ phone numbers.

Your message can be as simple as the following:

“Please support Senator Blunt’s Amendment No. 1520, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, which will overturn President Obama’s contraceptives mandate requiring employers to violate their conscience and religious beliefs. To protect the sanctity of the First Amendment and the right of conscience upon which our nation was founded, the U.S. Senate must act to preserve the freedom of employers to follow the dictates of their conscience.”

 Other Resources

HSLDA Update: Obama Administration Disregards Freedom of Religion & Right of Conscience

Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance: “Obama Admin: No Religious Accommodation on Birth Control Mandate”

HSLDA: “Comment Period on Conscience Regulations Ends September 30”

HSLDA: S. 1467—Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011

Heritage: Many Faiths Unite in Opposition to Obama Attack on Religious Liberty

Cato Institute: The Real Trouble with the Birth-Control Mandate

U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: Bishops Renew Call to Legislative Action on Religious Liberty

Letter from Senator Portman (OH): Portman To Holder: Stop The Unlawful HHS Violation Of Religious Liberty