FFRF signs onto coalition-led effort against anti-abortion amendment

stock photograph of a protest at the US capitol building. A woman holds a blue, round sign that says "Keep Abortion Legal"

Photo by Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is part of a large-scale coalition that is urging President Biden not to include an anti-abortion amendment in his 2025 budget.

The Weldon Amendment, which the National Women’s Law Center terms a “poison bill rider,” would allow health care providers to refuse to cover, provide or refer patients for abortion health care based on religious or moral grounds. It has also been used to intimidate states that are working to protect abortion rights by threatening their health care funding, all in the name of religion.

The Weldon Amendment has been attached to the Hyde Amendment — which itself notoriously has been barring federal abortion care funding for years — in the annual Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies funding bill. The House and Senate made history in 2022 and 2023 when they sought to remove the harmful amendments from their appropriations bills. Both the Bush and Trump administrations used the Weldon Amendment to pass refusal-of-care laws that allowed health care providers to deny patients treatment they morally opposed, including information about pregnancy options, emergency contraceptives and gender-affirming care.

The Weldon Amendment is intended to protect health care entities from “discrimination” when they refuse to provide abortion health care. Instead, it emboldens health-care providers to discriminate against their patients because of their personal opposition to abortion.

The amendment encourages health care providers to put their personal beliefs and ideologies ahead of the best interests of their patients. Patients are deprived of the care they need because of the Weldon Amendment, which has no provisions to protect access to abortion. The need to remove the Weldon Amendment is more urgent than ever as the fight for abortion access becomes more tumultuous. Following the overturn of Roe v. Wade, states are scrambling to ban abortion while leaving millions of vulnerable Americans without access to needed care.

Eliminating the Weldon Amendment is popular with voters nationwide, with over half of voters opposing health care providers and institutions refusing abortion care due to religious beliefs. The Biden Administration should remove this dangerous amendment from its 2025 budget.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is a national nonprofit organization with over 40,000 members and several chapters across the country. Our purposes are to protect the constitutional principle of separation between state and church, and to educate the public on matters relating to nontheism.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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