A picture of Representative Eliot L. Engel
Eliot E.
Democrat NY 16

About Rep. Eliot
  • Providing for Consideration of Senate Amendment to House Amendment to S. 764, National Sea Grant College Program Amendments Act of 2015

    by Representative Eliot L. Engel

    Posted on 2016-07-13

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    ENGEL. Madam Speaker, I thank my friend from Massachusetts. I think he just put it correctly.



    These are difficult choices. They are moral choices. They are choices from [[Page H4833]] the heart and choices from the gut. But I do think that a woman who is in need of an abortion in her mind has the right to have those kinds of services and has the right to not have her boss veto them for her.

    The Conscience Protection Act is the latest in a long line of attempts to interfere with women's autonomy and medical care. I have come to the floor a number of times to defend a woman's right to make her own healthcare decisions, a concept that, frankly, shouldn't need a defense at all. I respect decisions, one way or another.

    This bill is marketed as one that would protect conscience rights, but let's be clear. Current law already allows health professionals to object to providing abortions for moral or religious reasons. The Conscience Protection Act would take this concept to a new extreme, expanding opportunities for employers to discriminate against women based on their reproductive health choices.

    We have said this before and we will say it again: women's personal healthcare decisions are not their boss' business. An employer should not have the right to veto a medical decision by a woman. It is just not right.

    Every patient should be able to make fully informed decisions about her health care without interference of her employer, and certainly without interference from Congress. I urge my colleagues to oppose this bill.

    Again, whatever your moral choices are, I respect them; on both sides, I respect them. But it is not right for a woman who is seeking an abortion to have that abortion vetoed because her boss doesn't like abortions. I think that is a decision that should be left to the woman alone, not put more pressure on her, not force her to go against her will. This is something dealing with her body, her rights, not her boss' rights, so I urge my colleagues to oppose the bill.

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