We're disillusioned over America's vaunted freedom of conscience.

The California Department of Managed Health Care is trying to force Catholic health systems to include abortion in employee health coverage, or drop coverage altogether. The department only seems amused when confronted with ineffectively-implemented federal conscience law.

A New Jersey state medical center tried to force nurses to assist in abortions against their moral and religious convictions. Facing a suit from the nurses, the hospital has replied that the nurses have no right to sue over the matter.

And now, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says all private health plans in the country must cover a full range of sterilization and contraceptives, including drugs that can cause an early abortion, whether buyers want it or not. Federal officials are interpreting a so-called "religious exemption” in such a weak way that the protection can't reach individuals or most Catholic institutions like colleges and hospitals.  

HHS recently denied a grant proposal from the U.S. bishops’ department of Migration and Refugee Services, even though the bishops' program had a higher rating for its work than the winner. The reason? Victims would not have access to abortion.

Adding to the outrage, pro-lifers who sense discrimination in any of these matters must appeal to, guess who? The Department of Health and Human Services. See the problem?

We need a new law and one is in the offing. The House of Representatives has included stronger conscience protection in its draft HHS budget bill, to be considered near the end of the year. As one would expect, the provision is facing a tough fight. We need to fight back.

Pro-life health and service providers should not be forced to choose between their faith and their jobs.