Thank you very much. I’m Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner from Wisconsin.
Almost 35 years ago, when I was member of the Wisconsin Assembly, I was one of four authors of the first conscience protection bill in the nation that was passed. And the three of us, and me, ended up introducing this legislation because we feel that one of the first jobs of government is to protect the religious freedom of everybody in the United States of America. This is one of the things that has brought people from all over to our shores, and many of them fled religious persecution when their ancestors came here.
Today, religious freedom is under attack by the President and Secretary Sebelius' regulations that they had the power to issue under the Obamacare law. The modification that was announced by the President last Friday is probably worse than the original announcement that was made on January 20th and the reason for that is that it will end up forcing religious affiliated institutions to pay for services indirectly that they will not pay for directly because it violates their firmly held moral and religious beliefs. It is no different in assaulting religious freedom if you’re making somebody do something indirectly that they are not going to do directly, and that is why this regulation should be opposed as vigorously as the first regulation that was announced in January by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
I commend Congressman Fortenberry for introducing the legislation to protect religious conscience rights long before this controversy began. We have to do everything possible to reverse what the President and the Secretary of Health and Human Services are doing and whether it’s this means as a standalone bill, whether it is this language that is added on to other bills that the President has to sign, or whether it is for another means. We have to continue to do this job not only to protect religious conscience rights, but to be able to protect the heritage of the United States of America.