Hours after the Senate allowed a controversial anti-discrimination law to officially take effect in the nation's capital, a group of pro-life organizations released a joint statement pledging to continue operating in accordance with their beliefs -- thereby putting themselves at risk of violating the law. "Despite the enactment of this unjust law, we will continue to hire employees who share our commitment to the dignity of every member of the human family," reads the statement released by Alliance Defending Freedom, the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Americans United for Life and Americans United for Life Action, March for Life, Concerned Women for America, the Susan B. Anthony List, the Family Research Council and the Assoc. of Christian Schools International.
When city lawmakers in Washington, D.C., approved a new law banning discrimination on the basis of reproductive choices, much of the right was not pleased. But the Heritage Foundation's Daily Signal website published a report this week that some conservative organizations are actually preparing to ignore the new policy.
The groups' statement added, "We will not abandon the purpose of our organizations in order to comply with this illegal and unjust law. We will vigorously resist any effort under RHNDA to violate our constitutionally protected fundamental rights."
If so, it seems an interesting showdown is on the horizon.
To briefly recap yesterday's report and Rachel's segment from last night, under current law, it's already illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. But in the nation's capital, local policymakers approved a bold new law – the "D.C. Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act" – which adds "reproductive decision-making to anti-discrimination provisions."
For example, under the new local law, an employee in D.C. cannot be fired for being on birth control, using in vitro fertilization, or getting pregnant outside of marriage.
The conservative Washington Times reported that D.C. policymakers intend to amend the law slightly to make clear that employers are not required "to provide insurance coverage for reproductive health care options for which they have moral or religious objections," but the anti-discrimination policy will remain in place.
House Republicans tried to derail the city policy last week -- a move backed by Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and Rand Paul -- but the Senate did not act and the local law took effect over the weekend.
If the Heritage Foundation's report is correct, however, a variety of groups based in D.C. are effectively planning a kind of civil disobedience. The city may say they can't fire people based on employees' reproductive health decisions, but these conservative organizations continue to believe they can do exactly that.
Watch this space.
May 7, 201503:31