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Text of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012

This bill was introduced on January 30, 2012, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Jan 30, 2012 (Introduced).

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Source: GPO

II

112th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 2043

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

January 30, 2012

introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

A BILL

To amend title XXVII of the Public Health Service Act to provide religious conscience protections for individuals and organizations.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012.

2.

Finding

Congress finds that—

(1)

religious freedom and liberty of conscience are inalienable rights protected by the Declaration of Independence and the First Amendment to the United States Constitution;

(2)

on August 1, 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a mandate requiring individual and group health plans to cover free sterilization and all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives, including drugs that many believe induce abortions;

(3)

the mandate’s exemption for religious employers excludes those religious organizations, including charities, hospitals, schools or soup kitchens, that hire or serve individuals who do not share their religious tenets;

(4)

that narrow exemption, unprecedented in Federal law, excludes thousands of religiously affiliated hospitals, schools, charities, and businesses; and

(5)

despite receiving thousands of comments protesting the absurdly narrow exemption, the Department of Health and Human Services nonetheless announced on January 20, 2012, that it would not broaden the exemption but would instead give religious institutions an additional year to adapt their consciences to the mandate.

3.

Amendment to the Public Health Service Act

Section 2713 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300gg–13) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(d)

Conscience protections

(1)

In general

No guideline or regulation issued pursuant to subsection (a)(4), or any other provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, or the amendments made by that Act (Public Law 110–148), shall—

(A)

require any individual or entity to offer, provide, or purchase coverage for a contraceptive or sterilization service, or related education or counseling, to which that individual or entity is opposed on the basis of religious belief; or

(B)

require any individual or entity opposed by reason of religious belief to provide coverage of a contraceptive or sterilization service or to engage in government-mandated speech regarding such a service.

(2)

Rule of construction

Nothing in the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, or the amendments made by that Act (Public Law 110–148), and no regulations or guidelines issued under such Act (or amendments) shall be construed to authorize the imposition of a fine, penalty, or other sanction, or to otherwise disadvantage an individual or entity on the basis of a religiously based decision made by that individual or entity to not offer, provide, or purchase coverage for a contraceptive or sterilization service, or to engage in government-mandated speech regarding such services.

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