House Advances Effort to Overturn Abortion ‘Non-Discrimination’ Act

Capitol Dome Credit DliffWASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives advanced an effort on Thursday to overturn a law that some say would ban religious groups from living out their beliefs about fornication and abortion when it comes to their hiring and firing practices.

As previously reported, last December, the D.C. City Council unanimously passed the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act (RHNDA) of 2014, which amended a 1977 law and prohibits pro-life organizations from “discriminating” against employees who obtain abortions.

Text of the bill stated that its purpose was to “ensure that individuals are protected from discrimination by an employer, employment agency, or labor organization based on an individual’s or dependent’s reproductive health decisions.” This would mean that faith-based organizations cannot fire an employee for having sexual relations outside of marriage or for obtaining an abortion, even if the lifestyle agreement and terms presented by the employer require adherence to biblical standards.

Christian groups opposed the changes, with the organization Liberty Council writing to city council to outline its concerns, and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF)—and a number of other organizations as co-signers—sending a letter to Congress to urge intervention.

“The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act of 2014 prevents religious institutions, other faith-based employers, and pro-life advocacy organizations from making employment decisions consistent with their sincerely held religious beliefs or their moral and ethical views about the sanctity of human life,” the ADF letter stated.

The Act was signed into law in January by Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), and last month, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and James Lankford (R-Okla.) introduced joint resolutions in the Senate, also known as disapproval resolutions, that would essentially void the measure. Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) presented a similar resolution in the House.

“The Constitution provides that all Americans enjoy the right to live a life in accordance with their convictions of faith. Limiting religious practice to a church building is a weekend hobby, not a personal faith,” Lankford told the publication Roll Call. The First Amendment is first for a reason—it cannot be ignored by the D.C. City Council.”

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But Planned Parenthood pointed to the recent passage of state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRA), remarking that it doesn’t believe organizations and businesses should be able to practice religion in the workplace.

“We’ve seen this agenda sweeping states like Indiana and Arkansas, where laws allowing businesses to discriminate based on religion launched an unprecedented backlash from the public and corporate America,” it wrote in a post last month. “[T]he effort to block this commonsense law is part of a dangerous agenda to allow bosses to discriminate based on their personal beliefs.”

After the measure was approved by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last week, it moved on to the full House for a vote, where it passed mostly along party lines on Thursday 228-192.

“[We] have been resolute in our belief that Congress has the right and the responsibility to act in defense of our constitutional freedom of belief,” said Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas). “This is not about one city, but rather about preserving the First Amendment right to religious liberty for all Americans.”

“[RHNDA] promotes intolerance of anyone who disagrees with the world view of the majority of the D.C. City Council,” added Rep. Virginia Foxx (N.C.), according to the Associated Press.

“I stand here to defend the rights of religious institutions and pro-life companies to honor their faith and respect the sanctity of life,” declared Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo).

The Senate has 30 days to pass the resolution, which then also must be signed by Barack Obama. The White House is already threatening to veto the measure.

“This legislation would give employers cover to fire employees for the personal decisions they make about birth control and their reproductive health,” it said in a statement.

Photo: Dliff

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  • Frank

    It is God’s to revenge. He will repay. It is a scary thing to fall into the hands of an angry God.

  • FoJC_Forever

    The laws passed in Indiana and Arkansas don’t allow people to discriminate, they allow businesses the freedom of not being compelled to participate in events which are clearly outlined as sinful by the Word of God, Jesus Christ. What secularists and those who practice false religion want is the power to force Christians to sin against God.

    What’s next? Will ministers be compelled to officiate homosexual “weddings”? The spirits of antichrist are working feverishly to turn the government and the public completely against God and His Word. They are gathering their masses to unite under the Antichrist, when he is revealed.

  • Dream Theater Moment of Reason

    I’m not for abortion at all. The reason I’m not is because if the young woman of 15 had not made a great decision to have her baby to be adopted, I would not today have my son. Although her mother wanted that, being so young, she refused and today there is a beautiful life (my son is bi-racial and is 23) and the love of my life. If more women were as brave as this young woman was (now much older with her own family, and visits my son) they could make positive decisions that would be a blessing to others that cannot have a baby, and would love to adopt these children. If you look at this perspective alone, you can see that life is precious and in my case my son was a wonderful gift to me. If people could just personalize that experience and the joy it brings, I think this would not even be an issue. What I don’t like to see is a reckless lifestyle that ends in a morning after pill. I know there are issues of health for mothers, etc. that need to be considered but I can’t support a morning after pill after being a part of my sons life.