The “Equality Act” not only threatens the free exercise of religion and free speech, but the bill will force health care providers and hospitals to perform, participate in, refer abortions and require taxpayer funding of abortion. It will also force faith-based pregnancy centers to promote abortion.
HR 5 amends many federal laws by striking the word “sex,” and inserting “sex, sexual orientation, gender identity.” In addition, the bill’s use of the words “pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition” includes chemical and surgical abortions, and abortion referral.
Any time “sex” has been previously added to federal law, Congress exempted abortion. HR 5 now includes abortion. The bill also prohibits the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as a claim or defense. That means there is no religious or conscience protection against forcing a health care provider, pharmacist, hospital, religious organization, or pro-life crisis pregnancy center participation in chemical or surgical abortions or abortion referrals.
In June 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that pro-life crisis pregnancy centers were not required to promote abortion to their clients. Liberty Counsel represented three faith-based pregnancy centers in Southern California, all of which offer women pregnancy resources, counseling, advice, and alternatives to abortion. The High Court reviewed the California Reproductive FACT Act, which compelled these centers to post notices in their physical clinics, printed material, and online regarding the availability of free and low-cost abortions. The Court agreed that the disclosures required by the California Reproductive FACT Act violate the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment. However, the “Equality Act” will force crisis pregnancy centers to promote abortion and make abortion referrals.
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The “Equality Act” will make abortion a federal right from fertilization through full birth and will override every state law, including informed consent, parental consent and notification, waiting periods, and even late term abortion procedures like Partial Birth Abortion.
The bill will also require state and federal funding and require insurance companies and employers (including religious employers) to provide coverage for chemical and surgical abortion.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “This outrageous so-called ‘Equality Act’ will make abortion a federal right from conception to birth and will override every state law. It will force health care providers, pharmacists, hospitals, and crisis pregnancy centers to provide, participate in or make abortion referrals. The bill will require state and federal funding of abortion and force employers and insurance carriers to cover abortion. There is nothing about equality in this bill that revokes religious freedom and federalizes the killing of the most helpless infants.”