Back in January, New York’s state legislature passed Senate Bill 660, which went into effect November 8. It directly targets religious and pro-life employers by denying them the right to require employees to adhere to biblical standards regarding what the law euphemistically calls “reproductive health decisions.”
We’re talking, of course, about abortion, birth control, same-sex adoption, sex outside of marriage and other issues on the Left’s sexual liberty list of items to be imposed on people of faith. The law offers no exclusion for churches and other faith-based organizations. Indeed, it’s clear that the state’s new requirements are directed at those types of employers, according to a new lawsuit.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) represents a faith-based pregnancy center, a church and several other religious nonprofit organizations in New York in the litigation which asks a federal court to declare the law unconstitutional.
“No government has the right to tell pro-life or religious organizations they must hire someone who doesn’t agree with their core mission,” said ADF Senior Counsel Ken Connelly in a press statement. “New York is directly demeaning religious pro-life pregnancy centers and other faith-based organizations – like religious schools, Catholic hospitals and even churches – by ordering them to violate their beliefs in key personnel and leadership decisions. The state is requiring our clients to contradict their convictions and undercut their freedom of association – requirements that are flatly unconstitutional.”
The law prohibits religious and pro-life employers from operating their organizations in accord with their missions and beliefs by preventing them from requiring compliance by their employees with, among other things, their statements of faith, codes of conduct and employee handbooks.
Employers are even required to advise employees of SB660’s provisions, compelling churches and faith-based organizations to promote the government’s pro-abortion policies.
Under this statute, a pro-life pregnancy center would be required to hire a pro-abortion advocate who has had several abortions herself. Church schools would be forced to hire or retain female teachers who are pregnant out of wedlock. The list of possibilities is endless.
Is there a huge problem in New York with employees being terminated for their “reproductive health decisions?” One of the sponsors of the bill, Assemblywomen Ellen Jaffree, could cite no examples of past or present discrimination along those lines, according to the legal complaint (paragraph 153) filed in the United States District Court that initiated the litigation.
What is the New York legislature concerned about? ADF recounts in the complaint that one of the bill sponsor’s expressed concern about the 2014 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. In paragraphs 160-166, ADF sets out the legislative history of the New York Senate floor debates which reveals that state Senator Jennifer Metzger considered Hobby Lobby to be an “encroachment by employers” into “reproductive health matters,” and that SB660 was therefore designed to “prevent” such encroachments.
There it is. The New York legislature passed SB660 because it believes that it can overrule an important Supreme Court decision on religious freedom, in favor of promoting its own baby-killing agenda. Abortion is the antithesis of God’s design for humanity, and the Left cannot tolerate any recognition of the right to life of a preborn baby. Therefore it believes it must crush any expression of faith which interferes with the relentless push for abortion on demand. Let’s pray the court prevents that.
We’ll be following this lawsuit with interest. The case is Compasscare v. Cuomo.