Communications Department

NRLC letter to U.S. House urging support for Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 4691)

Jun 19, 2002 | Abortion Non-Discrimination

The following letter was sent by the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) to members of the U.S. House of Representatives on June 19, 2002.  For further information on H.R. 4691, see

Dear Member of Congress:

The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) urges you to cosponsor and otherwise support the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (ANDA) (H.R. 4691), introduced by Congressman Michael Bilirakis.

Enactment of this bill is needed to protect the right of health care providers to refuse to perform or otherwise participate in the performance of abortions.

In 1996 Congress enacted the “Coats-Snowe Amendment”  (42 U.S.C. §238n) to protect the right of health care providers to decline to participate in the killing of unborn children.  That law provided protection for any “health care entity” that declined to train in, perform, or arrange for abortions. However, some have read the 1996 law narrowly, to protect only residents and residency programs and only in the training context.  H.R. 4691 would clarify that the term “health care entity” includes the full range of participants involved in providing health care, such as health care professionals, health plans, hospitals, and other health facilities.  ANDA also strengthens existing law by providing that health care entities should not be forced by government to pay for abortions.

ANDA is an urgently needed response to a national effort on the part of certain groups to force health care providers to participate in abortions.  For example, in Alaska the state supreme court ruled that some community hospitals must perform abortions against their will.  A certificate of need was denied to a proposed outpatient surgical center in Connecticut because it declined to perform abortions, after abortion activists intervened in the proceedings.  A hospital merger in New Hampshire was undone when pro-abortion activists intervened with the state attorney general.  The City Council of St. Petersburg, Florida, forced a private hospital to leave a non-profit consortium because the consortium followed a pro-life policy.  ANDA will provide an umbrella of protection for health care providers who do not wish to be involved in the practice of abortion.

NRLC asks that you support the ANDA and oppose all weakening amendments.  Thank you for your consideration of NRLC’s position on this important issue.


Douglas Johnson
NRLC Legislative Director
(202) 626-8820