A bill enacted under-the-radar days ago in Washington, DC could force all employers in the nation’s capital to cover abortion-on-demand in health plans, including pro-life groups and religious schools.
On January 23 — one day after the U.S. House passed the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act and hundreds of thousands participated in March for Life 2015 — D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser signed a far-reaching bill that escalates the culture war over abortion policy.
Vincent Gray (R) left office stating his concerns, yet Mayor Muriel Bowser (L) signed the pro-abortion bill (Photo: Adam Fagen / Flickr)
“The bill raises serious concerns under the Constitution,” wrote outgoing D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray in a letter to her, refusing to sign the bill during his term. Mayor Bowser took office on January 2.
“No one should be forced to pay for or participate in an abortion,” says Sarah Torre, policy analyst on life issues at The Heritage Foundation, referring to the “ill-named” Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act passed by the DC City Council.
“We’re talking about surgical abortions here — dangerous, very violent procedures,” she says, noting the differences with recent concerns over abortion-inducing drugs.
“This is a clear violation of conscience for people who know the truth that these children are human beings who have an inherent right to life, worth and dignity,” Torre concludes.
As public outcry over the D.C. abortion mandate has grown, Mayor Bowser has proposed a new bill to “clarify language in the law.” Yet according to the U.S. Constitution, laws passed by the D.C. City Council are subject to oversight by Congress.
Pro-life leaders are urging citizens to bring their concerns to members of the House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform including Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) who serves as chairman. Congress has 30 days to review the policy change before it is implemented.
Another bill pending in Congress, the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (S. 50 in the U.S. Senate), would prohibit any government agency from forcing pro-life citizens, medical professionals, religious schools or other groups to pay for or participate in abortions.
Policy expert Sarah Torre notes the potential benefits of this pro-life bill. “You wouldn’t have to wait for what is ‘the DMV of Conscience’: the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights, which takes 1-3 years to respond to complaints of having your conscience rights violated,” says Torre.
For those who think this could not happen in America — faith-based groups forced to pay for violence against defenseless pre-born children — The Heritage Foundation has documented the story of a California church facing this moral dilemma right now.
“As a father, I’ve had the privilege of adopting four children,” says Pastor Jim Garlow of Skyline Church in San Diego, California. “So somewhere out there are four birth mothers who made wonderful decisions. Now [under current California law] to know I was participating in that which would have robbed my own children of life, it’s repulsive beyond words.”
Pro-life leaders are hopeful, Torre notes, that the bill upholding all pastors’ religious liberty rights (S. 50) will proceed soon in Congress.
LifeNews Note: Josh M. Shepherd has served in communications/marketing roles for the past 10 years at Focus on the Family and The Heritage Foundation. Reprinted with permission from Bound4LIFE.